Who We Are
Who We Are
Who We Are
Who We Are
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Based in Portland, Oregon, we are a consultancy providing creative solutions to Japanese businesses.

Our Mission

We want to build meaningful connections and a borderless business community between Japan and Portland.

UPLIFT is the cultural concierge that satisfies cross-cultural curiosity: we connect the dots by finding and fulfilling mutual needs.

As the Pacific ocean connects both countries, we inspire, connect and uplift these cultures.

Uplift Is

COLLECTIVE

Portland is like one giant creative agency. We work with a carefully curated local group of experts from a diverse range of professions.

CONNECTOR

We thrive by connecting people and businesses. We connect Portland creators and Japanese business leaders to generate something greater together.

COLLABORATOR

We collaborate with both sides of businesses to bring ideas to life and create win-win business models for everyone.

Like One Giant Creative Agency

We are seasoned consultants that connect our network of creative talent from Portland, Oregon with aspiring Japanese businesses. We leverage years of professional and creative experience to provide complete support for Japanese companies tapping into the US market. Beyond business connections, we aim to create an expansive cross-cultural network that bridges Portland and Japan.

Our Founder

Born in Japan, Katsu Tanaka started his career as a Vintage Apparel and Sneaker Dealer while he was in college. He expanded his operation to export mid-century furniture, vintage American toys, and housewares. After his graduation, he founded a retail/gallery space, Compound, in 2004 in Portland’s Old Town district. In 2012, he created Kiriko, an original lifestyle brand specializing in vintage Japanese fabrics. Kiriko has been distributed over 50 different retail businesses worldwide and has collaborated with nationally-renowned brands such as J.Crew, Free People, and Filson.

Through his extensive experience in Portland, and his connections in the creative field, Tanaka founded Uplift PDX to create a portal that provides complete support for Japanese companies.

Our Vision

We see evolving connections between the US and Japan as sound waves rippling out, and UPLIFT acts as the amplification.

The synergy that happens when two cultures collide creates beautiful collaborations and works, the same way that Vincent van Gogh’s painting style was heavily influenced by Japanese Ukiyo-e paintings or American Jazz music was heavily influenced by African rhythm, we aim to create conditions where both cultures can learn and create new emergent works that foster innovation and continue to move both cultures forward.

Katsu TanakaFounder of Uplift

Our Origin

INSPIRED BY THE ORCA

Harmony, community, guidance: our values are inspired by the native symbol of the Orca, which traditionally acts as a guide to travelers.

Akin to the Orca, Uplift guides business leaders through Portland, ensuring they absorb the rich creative culture, inspiration and spirit that abounds in the Pacific Northwest.

The Orca is labeled the Lord of the Ocean by Northwest Native nations and is revered for its ability to travel away from home. As the ocean connects Japan to Portland, Uplift unites and guards over its clients who transverse to and from both continents, synergistically unifying both cultures. The Orca ensures safe passage – creating a prevailing connection. A ripple across the vast ocean.

TEAM

Katsu Tanaka

Founder

Born in Japan, Katsu Tanaka started his career as a Vintage Apparel and Sneaker Dealer while he was in college. He expanded his operation to export mid-century furniture, vintage American toys, and housewares. After his graduation, he founded a retail/gallery space, Compound, in 2004 in Portland’s Old Town district. In 2012, he created Kiriko, an original lifestyle brand specializing in vintage Japanese fabrics. Kiriko has been distributed over 50 different retail businesses worldwide and has collaborated with nationally-renowned brands such as J.Crew, Free People, and Filson. Through his 23 years of experience in Portland, and his connections in the creative field, Tanaka founded Uplift PDX to create a portal that provides complete support for Japanese companies tapping into the US market.

E-Mail: katsu@upliftpdx.com

Web: Kiriko Made, Compound Gallery

Languages: Japanese and English

Katsu Tanaka

Founder

Midori Karasawa

Director

Born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, Midori came to Portland to earn her undergraduate degree from the University of Portland. Upon graduation, she started her 25+ year product marketing career at Nike Japan and Nike WHQ. Today, she runs an interior design company and remains deeply rooted in the local business and creative communities. Midori brings Japan’s extraordinary cultural sensibilities and an entrepreneurial spirit to Uplift. Together with Katsu she is committed to bringing meaningful connection and business partnerships between Japanese business leaders and Portland creators.

Email: Midori@upliftpdx.com

Web: styleguideid.com

Languages: Japanese and English

Midori Karasawa

Director

Jason Sturgill

Design recruiter, W+K, UPLIFT Team

Jason is a freelance illustrator based in Portland, Oregon working on everything from editorial illustrations to apparel graphics, as well as branding & packaging. When he’s not drawing you can find him either teaching illustration and graphic design at Portland State University or at an estate sale hunting for illustrated ephemera with his wife and son. Before drawing became his full time profession he worked as a graphic designer for Nike SB and Nike 6.0 in both apparel and brand design. Jason also spent several years at both Wieden+Kennedy and Dark Horse Comics. Some of his clients include Jamie Oliver Magazine, Poler, The Portland Mercury, The Quiet Life and Widmer Brothers Brewing.

Jason Sturgill

Design recruiter, W+K, UPLIFT Team

Erica Kunihisa

UPLIFT Team

Erica Kunihisa

UPLIFT Team

Peter Geo Kent

Constellate, Designer, UPLIFT Team

Peter Geo Kent

Constellate, Designer, UPLIFT Team