Tak and Carolyn Furumoto Scholarship 

a JAVA Memorial Scholarship for High School Seniors

JAVA is thrilled to announce a new scholarship: the Tak and Carolyn Furumoto Scholarship offered in honor of Sam Kiyoto Furumoto, Tak’s late father, whose tenacity, industry, and positive attitude continue to inspire and shape Tak and his family today. The Tak and Carolyn Furumoto Scholarship is one of many $1,500 JAVA Memorial Scholarships that will be awarded to a high school senior who is entering a two or four-year college in the fall. Application information can be found at the end of the article and on the JAVA website. 

Sam Kiyoto Furumoto and wife Yoshi. Photo: Furumoto Family. 

Sam Kiyoto Furumoto

Although he only had an eighth-grade education, Sam Kiyoto Furumoto’s integrity, drive, and optimism earned him the respect of family, friends, and business associates. Born in Hiroshima in 1908, the eldest of four children, Sam came to the United States in 1921 at the age of 13 to join his parents who had moved to Sacramento ten years earlier. He attended a segregated—Japanese/Caucasian-school in Florin, CA, for a short period, leaving to support himself as a migrant strawberry farmhand. Eventually, he moved to Los Angeles and worked in wholesale produce. While working his way up the ranks, Sam wed Yoshi Nishikubo in 1931 in an arranged marriage. Yoshi was born in 1913 in Cudahy, CA, and was a U.S. citizen. Her family returned to Hiroshima in 1916. Ever diligent and determined, Sam started a produce business in 1938 with Mr. Oka employing 26 people. However, in 1942, when Executive Order 9066 was signed, Sam lost everything - his business, belongings, and car and was incarcerated along with his wife and four daughters. They were first incarcerated at the Santa Anita Racetrack, then moved to Rohwer War Relocation Center, then to Tule Lake Segregation Center, where both Sam and Yoshi answered “no” to loyalty questions 27 and 28 and where Tak was born in 1944. When the family was released from Tule Lake in December of 1945, Sam and Yoshi decided to go back to Hiroshima, where their families had been devastated by the dropping of the atomic bomb. In Hiroshima, Sam took on various odd jobs such as working as a driver for the Civil Affairs Office and as a cook at the Army base, all to help his family.

Despite the discrimination he experienced, Sam never lost faith in America as the “Land of Opportunity.” In time, the Furumoto family returned one by one to the United States. Sam worked seven days a week to support his family and instilled in his children the value of hard work and Gaman, or perseverance, as essential to success. By every measure, Sam’s children found America’s promise and realized the American Dream. One daughter became a dermatologist in Little Tokyo, LA; one a high school teacher in Gardena, CA; one a beautician; and the fourth daughter helped Tak and his wife Carolyn establish a successful Fort Lee, NJ, real estate business that they launched several years after Tak had returned from serving as an Army Intelligence Officer in Vietnam.

By offering a JAVA Scholarship in honor of Tak’s father Sam Kiyoto Furumoto, Tak and Carolyn Furumoto hope that future generations of Japanese Americans will continue to honor the past, work hard and have faith in America’s future so the baton can be handed down.

Oka Produce Company grand opening, Los Angeles, CA, March 1938. Sam Kiyoto Furumoto was Oka's business partner. Sam Furumoto is standing under "K" in Oka in the center section. Photo: Furumoto Family. 

Furumoto Family at Tule Lake Camp shortly before their release in 1945. Clipping: Furumoto Family.

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 javascholarship222@gmail.com. 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 javapotomac@gmail.com.

    Japanese American Veterans Association:  Address: P.O. Box 341198, Bethesda, MD 20827 I https://java-us.org 

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