Kanoko was born in Yokohama, Japan. Kanoko is making an effort to enhance community organizing by emerging community-based civic engagement and developing leadership in people in Japan.
Kanoko has 11 years of consulting work experience in sustainable development and corporate accountability work in her native Japan. Her hope was to change the world through consulting, but she realized “people” have a real power for change by researching the development of European and US state-level legislation. Then she decided to quit her job and study civic engagement in the US. She completed her MPA at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government in 2012, where she also took the on-the-ground course, Organizing: People, Power and Change. After graduation, she worked as a community organizer in Brooklyn, New York for a year, where she was involved in Change New York Police Department Campaign to stop racial discriminatory policing. She was in charge of organizing voter registration drive in New York. The campaign successfully passed three proposed bills on racial discriminatory policing in 2013.
Kanoko came back to Japan in September 2013. Kanoko hosted a community organizing workshop with Marshall Ganz in December 2013, to train nonprofit and local leaders in Japan with the support of civic, labor, and academic groups and organizations. In January 2014, she launched a new organization; Community Organizing Japan with 11 colleagues (http://communityorganizing.jp/). COJ aims to provide training on community organizing, adapt organizing to the Japanese context and practice organizing to solve social issues.