Colonel Jimmie Kanaya


a JAVA Memorial Scholarship for High School Seniors

JAVA is profiling the sacrifices and contributions made by the men and women that our JAVA Memorial Scholarship program honors. Today's issue highlights the Colonel Jimmie Kanaya Scholarship in honor of JAVA member, COL Jimmie Kanaya, a three war veteran. The Kanaya scholarship is sponsored by his wife Lynn as well as many of his friends and neighbors. It is one of the $1,500 JAVA Memorial Scholarships that will be awarded to a high school senior who will be entering a two or four-year college in the fall. Application information can be found at the end of the article as well as on the JAVA website. 

Colonel Jimmie Kanaya, U.S Army (Ret).

Colonel Jimmie Kanaya, U.S. Army (Ret), was born on October 3, 1920, and became a three war, decorated veteran, serving a total of 34 years. While serving with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, he received a battlefield commission during the Italian Campaign. Later while fighting in France, he was captured and spent time as a Prisoner of War at Oflag 64 in Schubin, Poland. Kanaya survived a 400-mile forced march to Odessa, Germany, near the Baltic Sea. Of the 1,471 men who started the journey in the frozen 20-degree winter, only 420 officers and 67 enlisted men survived. During the brutal 45 day march, there was no stopping for warm fires or time to dry boots and socks. Food was minimal, and there were no medical, bathing, or hygiene supplies. Kanaya witnessed frozen hands, arms, and bodies sticking out of the snow. To survive, boots, gloves and other clothing were retrieved from the dead. Jimmie suffered frostbite and neuropathy in his lower extremities. While he served overseas, the Kanaya family was interned at Minidoka Relocation Center, Idaho, and incarcerated until the end of the War. Colonel Kanaya received a Silver Star and a Bronze Star with Valor and Two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters. He received the Congressional Gold Medal as a member of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

Kanaya continued his Army service after WWII and was part of the Military Intelligence Service (MIS) during the Occupation of Japan. He worked as a translator/interrogator at Far East Command in Tokyo. During the Korean War, he was attached to the Allied Translator and Interpreter Section, Eighth Army (Forward), and United Nations Command in Korea. In July 1962, he was attached to the Medical Department Operations and Training Advisor to the Vietnamese Army Medical Branch, Military Assistance Advisory Group.

Colonel Kanaya retired in 1974 from his last position as Deputy Commandant, Medical Training Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas. His service would pave the way for future generations of Japanese Americans serving in the military. Colonel Jimmie Kanaya passed away at the age of 99 on November 7, 2019 and will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.

COL Jimmie Kanaya, USA (Ret).

JAVA Scholarship Eligibility and Applications


  • Descendants of those who served in the 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the Military Intelligence Service, the 1399th Engineer Construction Battalion, 522nd Field Artillery Battalion or  descendants of Japanese American soldiers who served during World War II other United States military units, including the Women’s Army Corps or Army Nurses Corps are eligible and encouraged to apply. 
  • Current members of JAVA whose membership began prior to April 1, 2019 are eligible and encouraged to apply. Children of current JAVA members are also eligible and encouraged to apply if the applicant’s parent or guardian was a member of JAVA prior to April 1, 2019. 
  • Past or present members of the Army’s 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry, ROTC, or U.S. Marine Corps Platoon Leaders Course are eligible and encouraged to apply for the Senator Daniel K. Inouye Memorial Scholarship. Applicants should demonstrate their lifelong commitment to public and uniformed service leadership for the nation.



  • Applicants should first review published rules and forms.
  • Applications and supporting documents must be electronically submitted no later than 11:59 p.m. on Friday, April 30, 2021, to Applications not received by that date or that fail to meet the submission requirements will NOT be considered. Applicants will be notified of a decision by early June 2021.
  • Awards will be presented at a JAVA scholarship awards ceremony on July 17, 2021. 

2021 JAVA Memorial Scholarship Program Overview here.

2021 U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye Memorial Scholarship here.

2021 JAVA's Founder's Scholarship here.

2021 Kiyoko Tsuboi Taubkin Legacy Scholarship here.

2021 JAVA Memorial Scholarships here.

Questions or Suggestions: Please contact Neet Ford, at

Japanese American Veterans Association:  Address: P.O. Box 341198, Bethesda, MD 20827 I 

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