Our Team

Yukuo Takenaka

Founder, President & CEO
Los Angeles & Tokyo

Yukuo Takenaka established Takenaka Partners in March 1989.  Mr. Takenaka has served to bridge the cultural gap between businesses in Asia (particularly Japan) and the rest of the world for many decades.  He is recognized for his experience in helping clients identify, contact, and negotiate with potential M & A targets and strategic partners.  In 1979, the White House and the Governor of California requested Mr. Takenaka assist the U.S. Department of Commerce and the California Department of Economic and Business Development in projects to promote U.S. – Japan trade relations. On both sides of the Pacific, he serves as senior advisor or board member to companies in a wide range of industries as well as cultural and professional organizations, including the World Trade Center Association of Los Angeles and Long Beach, and the Japan America Society of Southern California. Mr. Takenaka was also recently elected to the World Services Group board. Takenaka Partners is the exclusive investment banking firm for Japan and is currently the only investment banking member firm to be represented on the WSG board. 

Yukuo Takenaka was a partner of KPMG Peat Marwick and the National Director of their Japanese Practice for over 24 years. He also served as Chairman of Project Japan for the parent company, Klynveld Peat Marwick Geordeler (KPMG) for fifteen years. With Mr. Takenaka’s leadership, Project Japan was officially established in 1978 to promote and develop business opportunities around the world for KPMG’s Japanese clientele. In 2008, Mr. Takenaka was honored as the Founding Chairman of Project Japan in Tokyo at KPMG’s 30th anniversary of Project Japan.

Thoroughly bilingual, he is the author of numerous magazine articles and books, frequently appears in the media both in the U.S. and Japan, and is widely sought after as a guest speaker on the subject of cross-border investments.  Among his six books is the Japanese best seller, Merger and Acquisition Strategy, published by Diamond Co. in 1987.

Mr. Takenaka is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the California Society of Certified Public Accountants. He graduated from the University of Utah with an accounting degree in 1965 and became a CPA in 1967, two years after joining KPMG Peat Marwick. Born in Japan, where he received his early education, Mr. Takenaka moved to the United States as a teenager where he became a naturalized citizen.

Mitsuo Kubota

EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT
Tokyo

Mitsuo Kubota joined Takenaka Partners in April 2004. Prior to joining Takenaka Partners, Mr. Kubota was deeply involved in Hitachi’s international business activities, particularly with respect to sales and marketing for IT related products and systems, automotive parts, air-conditioning equipment, steel mill plants, hydro power plants, and thermal power plants, among other products. His international business experience with Hitachi and its affiliated companies spanned over 40 years. Mr. Kubota also has extensive experience in corporate management both in Japan and in Europe. He has enjoyed a remarkable career as Chairman and CEO of Hitachi Data Systems Europe Holding B. V., a joint venture between Hitachi and EDS, USA. As Chairman and CEO, Mr. Kubota steered Hitachi Data Systems to achieve record sales and market share for its computer products in Europe. In addition, Mr. Kubota was instrumental in building strong relationships with both customers and employees. Mr. Kubota received a Bachelor of Commercial Science degree from Meiji University.

Toshiaki Amimoto

SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT
Los Angeles

Toshiaki Amimoto joined Takenaka Partners in November 2002.  Mr. Amimoto started his career with Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan and has been involved in its overseas marketing and planning for over 10 years. Prior to joining Takenaka Partners he worked for the Nippon Credit Bank Ltd. and was responsible for the international banking and capital markets areas in London and Tokyo.  He also worked as a Director in the Financial Advisory Service practice of KPMG LLP and focused on mergers and acquisitions, and valuation of companies.  As a Japanese national educated in both Japan and the U. S., he has extensive experience in directing and managing broad ranging strategic projects for Japanese companies investing in the U.S.  Mr. Amimoto received a Bachelor of Economics degree from Waseda University in Japan and his Master of Business Administration (MBA) from The Anderson School at UCLA.  He also participated in a one year scholarship exchange student program at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota.  He is a member of the Japan Business Association of Southern California, Downtown Committee.

Kristine Fujita

SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT
Los Angeles

Kristine Fujita joined Takenaka Partners in September 1998, and is currently responsible for managing our firm’s Investment Banking transactions.  Since joining Takenaka Partners, Ms. Fujita has successfully executed strategic transactions on behalf of clients involved in a diverse array of industries.  Prior to Takenaka Partners, Ms. Fujita was a Senior Consultant with Deloitte’s Capital Markets Group and Business Assurance & Advisory Division, servicing large multinational corporations.  Prior to joining Deloitte, Ms. Fujita was a Postgraduate Technical Assistant at the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) in Norwalk, Connecticut.  Ms. Fujita earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from the University of Southern California and Master of Accounting degree from the University of Southern California.  Ms. Fujita is also a Certified Public Accountant (inactive), has earned the Chartered Financial Analyst designation, and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the CFA Institute (formerly known as the Association of Investment Management and Research).

Lars Skari

SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF TECHNOLOGY ADVISORY
Los Angeles

Lars Skari joined Takenaka Partners in April 2019 and is responsible for managing our firm’s advisory services with a focus on digital, analytics and Information Technology.  Prior to joining Takenaka Partners Mr. Skari co-founded a technology start-up at the intersection of IoT, analytics and insurance.  Mr. Skari was a Managing Partner with Infosys Consulting, where over a 10-year period he grew the financial services and insurance practices to 150 consultants and $50M in annual advisory revenue.  He was also a manager with Accenture in California and Scandinavia.  Mr. Skari has over 25 years of experience advising fortune 500 clients on their digital, analytics and IT transformations.  He is an expert at leveraging data and technology for strategic differentiation and operational effectiveness, and has significant experience introducing new technologies to Japanese companies.  He is accustomed to operating in cross-border, multi-cultural environments, having worked with clients and managed teams in North America, Europe and Asia.  Mr. Skari received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering with High Honors from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his Master of Business Administration (MBA) from USC’s Marshall School of Business.

Minoru Awabayashi

VICE PRESIDENT
Tokyo

Minoru Awabayashi joined Takenaka Partners in April 2016. Prior to joining Takenaka Partners, Mr. Awabayashi owned and managed a specialty manufacturing and distribution company in Japan with factories in China and Korea. He has extensive experience in international trade and retail distribution in Japan among other international markets. Mr. Awabayashi also has over 20 years of experience as a marketing consultant and has served as both a Partner and Managing Director for a San Francisco-based investment banking firm with primary focus on strategic transactions between the United States and Japan. He has managed and been involved in the development of many cross-border strategic alliances and acquisitions. He is frequently consulted by both US and Japanese companies regarding the cultural ramifications of foreign strategies and policies. His broad experience in market research and analysis, strategic alliance identification and cross culture negotiations will benefit our clients. Mr. Awabayashi received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Architecture from the School of Environmental Design at the University of California, Berkeley.

Joseph Kim

VICE PRESIDENT
Los Angeles

Joseph Kim joined Takenaka Partners in January 2005, and has extensive experience in investment banking, financial advisory, and strategic planning. Mr. Kim’s prior experience includes serving as a Director at Marshall & Stevens and as an Associate at Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin (HLHZ).   As a Director at Marshall & Stevens, Mr. Kim managed valuation and consulting engagements for merger & acquisition, fairness opinions, and SEC related purposes.  Prior to Marshall & Stevens, during his tenure at HLHZ, Mr. Kim co-founded the Communications, Entertainment & Media group where he supported a variety of corporate finance, mergers & acquisition, and restructuring engagements within those industries.  Mr. Kim was also a Director of Corporate Development at PeopleLink, an Internet infrastructure company.  At PeopleLink, Mr. Kim was responsible for business development, strategic planning, technology licensing, and strategic partnership initiatives.  Mr. Kim received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the Walter A. Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.

Tatsuya Sakagami

VICE PRESIDENT
Tokyo

Tatsuya Sakagami joined Takenaka Partners in May 2019. He has nearly 15 years of experience of advisory service for cross-border M&A transactions. In the recent 5 years, he has been responsible for origination and execution of cross-border M&A deals at Tokai Tokyo Securities, and helped several Japanese companies acquire mid-sized companies in USA and ASEAN countries as their financial advisor or valuation specialist. Before then, he has been with KPMG for 10 years and been engaged in many transaction service, mainly financial due diligence service, with target companies in various industries and sizes. He also has 11 years of experience of corporate banking with Tokyo-Mitsubishi Bank in Japan. Mr. Sakagami received a Bachelor of Economics degree from Kyoto University, and is registered as a Certified Public Accountant in Japan.

Ario Sato

VICE PRESIDENT
Los Angeles

Ario Sato joined Takenaka Partners in July 2019. Prior to joining Takenaka Partners, Mr. Sato served as Executive Vice President and CFO at Eugene & Associates, Inc., where he was responsible for all management and operations of the firm, which comprised of three full-service fine dining restaurants and three limited service macrobiotic cafes. He also worked at Bank of the West and was responsible for all sales and operations of the bank’s Little Tokyo branch in Los Angeles. In addition, he has held positions as a Manager of Equipment Leasing for JLA Credit Corporation and for ORIX USA Corporations and as an Assistant Manager & Leasing Officer with Japan Leasing Corporation in Tokyo, Japan. Mr. Sato is fully fluent in both Japanese and English and has extensive experience in financial analysis and planning, portfolio management, retail banking, commercial lending, and strategic planning. Mr. Sato received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Business and Commerce from the Keio University in Tokyo.

Justin Fleming

VICE PRESIDENT
Los Angeles

Justin Fleming joined Takenaka Partners in March 2018 and works on the firm’s investment banking transactions. Mr. Fleming has helped facilitate numerous transactions through providing valuation, due diligence, greenfield research, and other financial advisory services. Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Fleming worked in BDO’s audit practice where he performed both GAAP and IFRS audits for companies ranging from mid-sized private companies to global public corporations. Before working for BDO, Mr. Fleming worked in the financial accounting department of The Walt Disney Company, focusing on the firm’s studio performance. Mr. Fleming received a Bachelor of Science degree in Accountancy & Business Administration from the David Nazarian College of Business and Economics at the California State University, Northridge.

Senior Advisors

Satoru ANDO

Dallas

Isao Arihara

Tokyo

Shoji Honda

Tokyo

Hideaki Iwatani

Tokyo

Kiyoshi Kawakami

Tokyo

Gen Kimura

Houston

Kyoowon Lee

South Korea

Hiro Masumoto

Silicon Valley

Takehiko Noda

Tokyo

Kazuo Saito

Detroit

Leo A. Shinozaki

New York

Makoto Suzuki

Tokyo

Susumu Tabuchi

Osaka

Yasuteru Tachibana

Chicago

Hideo Takada

Atlanta

Takaharu Tanaka

New York

Masaki Tsukiji

Osaka

Katsuo Yamazaki

Tokyo
We look forward to the opportunity to serve you and your business needs.