“Kizuna DB” Online Contacts Database

Do you look like this photo when you try to keep track of information about:

  • the people you minister to?
  • your ministry networking contacts?
  • your supporters?
  • the people in your church?

Do you wish you could remember:

  • where you first met them?
  • the history of the connections you have had with them?
  • their family members (perhaps even be reminded of birthdays)?
  • what events they have attended?
  • donations they have given?
  • organizational relationships, like churches, teams, or departments?

Instead of on paper or in spreadsheets or other documents, would it be nice if the information was online, so that you could access it from anywhere, on your PC, tablet, or smartphone?

Would it be nice if it could print whole categories of people’s addresses directly on envelopes or postcards in proper Japanese format, or various other types of output on demand?

These features and many more, designed for Japan (tuned for Japanese addresses, furigana/romaji fields, bilingual interface, etc.) are now available from Light For Japan Productions as KizunaDB!  In development since 2001 by Karen Ellrick, a missionary who was previously a professional database systems engineer.  Currently used by churches, missionaries, CRASH Japan, Deaf Ministries International (DMI) Japan, and more.

What does it do?

It replaces your Rolodex, sticky-notes, single-PC data files you might have made in Access or Excel, and whatever other way you keep track of people you know. It probably includes all the types of information you usually keep about a person or organization and then some.

HouseholdNo need to repeat household information like address, landline phone, or names of the family for an envelope – you can create a “household” once and add more members to it.
camera-smallIt handles photos of individuals and households, and can even be used to create photo directories.
postalcode-guy-smallIt normalizes Japanese addresses – in other words, it usually eliminates the need to type any of the text part between the postal code and the chome/banchi numbers, because the prefecture, city, ward, and community names are all derived from the postal code and copied automatically from the Japan Post Office’s own database. (International addresses can also be entered, although no normalization is provided.)
relationshipsIt allows you to indicate relationships between people and organizations, or even between organizations and each other (for example, a person belongs to a department, which belongs to a larger organization), and you can search for people or organizations based on those relationships.
bible-study-group-50x50You can define events and keep track of who attended them (including repeating events, like a weekly Bible study, with reports of how many times the people attended), including time range if desired (for tracking hours of volunteer work or even employment). Future dates and date ranges are allowed, so you can also use it for scheduling.
helloYou can keep a log of communications you have had with each person or organization, as well as other milestones like when they were baptized, when you first met them, or whatever else you want to make note of that is based on something happening at a point in time. The text related to each log entry is of unlimited length, so you can even include the content of complete emails, etc. if you want. Of course, all this information is reportable and searchable.
100yenIf desired, you can use it to track donations and “pledges” (commitments to donate, such as a monthly sponsorship or even a loan that should be paid back) and generate a variety of reports of that data.
cabinet-smallYou can create your own categories and assign any number of people and/or organizations to any number of categories. Categories can be designated to apply to just people, just organizations, or both.
birthday-cake-smallYou can get a list of people based on their birthday (limited to certain categories if desired), so you can easily remember them on their special day.
pinned-document-smallYou can upload files associated with a person or organization, like reports, application forms, photos, audio/video, etc., for easy archiving and retrieval.
unlimited_membersUsing multiple selection criteria, you can print addresses directly on envelopes or on label sheets, compose emails with the recipients pre-filled, create lists of your choice of data, and create custom formatted reports as needed.
gear-icon-smallThe administrator for each “client” can create and maintain login users, and some sensitive areas (e.g. if the donation module is used) can be restricted to only users that need to see it. nihongoEach user can choose which language (Japanese or English) they want to see the interface in. (More languages could be added if someone wants to translate the various pieces of text.)

What do I need in order to use it?

Any modern browser (with Javascript and cookies enabled, which is quite standard). That’s it! You can access it from anywhere, anytime.

Future plans include improving how it works on small screens like smart phones, more powerful ways to find and select data, and of course continual fixing of bugs (yes, I know it has bugs!).

Can I see it now?

Yes! There are two demo instances – one shows typical usage for churches and the other typical usage for missionaries. Currently only the church demo has sample data (it takes time to create fake data!), but you are welcome to try either or both:

To log into either one: User ID=demo, Password=demo You are welcome to play with the data – add, edit, or delete as much as you like. Once a day it will be restored to how it was.


I’m doing this mostly as a ministry – it takes a huge amount of time, but actual expenses are low (mostly just server rent).  I considered just letting people use it for free, but I spend a lot of time supporting clients (setting up custom dashboards, doing support and training, etc.), so I think I need to charge just enough to keep away people who aren’t serious, if you know what I mean.  (I also want to focus most of my volunteer effort on Christian ministries, so although I will accept secular clients, I’ll charge them more.)  It will also help defray the cost of my server, and allow me to upgrade the server if it gets overloaded.  The closest comparison to KizunaDB would be CRM services, and they normally cost tens or hundreds of dollars per month per user!  I don’t care how many users you have for your KizunaDB database – the price is the same.

“Regular” price (businesses and secular organizations):

  • Subscription: ¥30,000 per year (¥2,500 per month on a yearly contract)
  • Setup and initial training: ¥20,000 one-time fee

Churches and Christian ministries (75% off!):

  • Subscription: ¥6,000 per year (¥500 per month on a yearly contract)
  • Setup and initial training: ¥5,000 one-time fee

I am willing to train in person – I find that it is most effective to talk face-to-face about each ministry’s needs and then customize the KizunaDB configuration together.  I won’t charge extra for that, but if you are outside the Kansai area and I am not already traveling to your area for other purposes, help with my train fare is appreciated.

And… If anyone wants to help me in concrete ways, they can use it for free!  Not all the help is technical in nature – examples:

  • Filling in ficticious data for my public demo databases – I can’t use real data for privacy reasons, but it’s hard to tell how it works if there isn’t a good amount of realistic data.
  • Writing tutorials to help people like yourself learn to use it for different kinds of ministry situations.
  • Translation and correction of my bad Japanese – I’m told that some areas of the Japanese interface aren’t as clear as they could be, and other areas haven’t been translated yet.  Besides the application’s interface, translation of web pages would also be a huge help.
  • Content and design of a marketing website for it – I haven’t even started on that, so if you like to do websites, talk to me (I can set up WordPress for you if you are not technical, and you can fill in the content).
  • Of course, if you know how to program (PHP, MySQL, jQuery/Javascript, HTML/CSS) and would like to help with the actual code, please contact me about that.

So, if you are interested, contact me!


I am not a big corporation with dozens of programmers, so KizunaDB will always have some rough edges that I’m continually working on.  I also have not yet taken to time to write formal documentation or tutorials (although I definitely want to!).  But my current clients love Kizuna and rely on it for their ministries, and I will continually respond to feedback and make it better.