Carolyn Namie Furumoto Scholarship 

a JAVA Memorial Scholarship for High School Seniors

JAVA is pleased to announce a new scholarship, Carolyn Namie Furumoto, wife and partner of JAVA member and Vietnam veteran Tak Furumoto. In creating the Carolyn Namie Furumoto Scholarship, Tak hopes to honor not only his spouse but all military spouses, unsung heroes whose love, care, and devotion often go unnoticed. The Carolyn Namie 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.

Carolyn and Tak Furumoto Photo: Courtesy of the Furumoto Family. 

Carolyn Namie Furumoto

While Tak and Carolyn joyfully celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this past January, their newlywed years were not without struggle. Sounding very much like a Hollywood movie script, Tak and Carolyn met when he was in Officer Candidate School and on leave in 1968. Smitten, Tak drove every weekend (five hours each way) from Monterey, CA, where he had been sent to study Vietnamese at the Defense Language School, to see Carolyn in Los Angeles. Even when Tak was sent to Vietnam in February 1970, their romance continued. The two managed to arrange a meeting in Japan during Tak’s “R&R."  As destiny had it, Carolyn's Kibei father grew up in Higashihara, Hiroshima, one village over from Nishihara, where Tak’s father was born and raised and where Tak spent ten years of his childhood. The coincidence could not have been more perfect --- especially since there were more than a few grannies and aunties to chaperone the young couple. Tak’s grandmother kept a close eye on them during the day; outings were supervised by his aunty. Tak recalls his aunty shadowing them when they visited the Osaka World’s Fair, and also remembers her shrieking, horrified that he kissed Carolyn goodbye at the Osaka train station. “Her eyes were peeled open like a goldfish!” As wonderful as their romantic meeting had been, Tak believes he was already experiencing symptoms of what eventually became PTSD. By the time he saw Carolyn, he “had spent six months in heavy combat in Vietnam including the Invasion of Cambodia in May of 1970–Nixon’s secret mission without Congressional approval. I was stationed adjacent Parrot’s Beak on the Cambodian border.” Although Tak was certain he loved Carolyn, he had the odd and disturbing sense that “there was a different person inside my body—I was not the same warm and jovial guy who dated her before I was sent to Vietnam. My soul had cooled down due to combat fatigue.”

On his return home to the States in 1972, Tak and Carolyn married. The dapper groom and beautiful bride made their way to the East Coast and started their new lives in New Jersey. However, it did not take long before the fairy tale start began to unravel. Although at first, Tak was able to keep his physical and mental wounds from the Vietnam War at bay, aliments from toxic environmental exposure and PTSD nightmares and daytime anxiety began to surface with greater intensity. He found himself unable to keep a job which only added to his stress. Carolyn proved to be his rock. With patience and kindness, she nursed Tak through the difficult days. She also managed the household, and more vitally, was the main breadwinner until they started their own company—Furumoto Realty in 1974. In time, Tak healed and by the late 1970s, he felt a sense of normality return to his life. He credits Carolyn with his recovery. In Tak’s words, “without her, I would not be here mentally and physically in one piece.” Tak also credits Carolyn with the success of Furumoto Realty. “Together, we were awarded Fort Lee Chamber of Commerce, Man and Woman of the Year in 2000, and in 2015 we received the Key to the Borough of Fort Lee. Without her, we would never have prospered and received these accolades.”

Carolyn Namie Furumoto is the second of five children in her family. Her parents were interned at Tule Lake Segregation Camp where they were married. After their release, they moved to Los Angeles, where their children were born and raised. Carolyn attended University High School and graduated from California State University at Northridge (her older brother served in the U.S. Army as a helicopter mechanic in the Vietnam War). Since the founding of Furumoto Realty, she has worked alongside Tak, and together they raised a wonderful son, who lives in California.

To Tak, Carolyn embodies the qualities of YAMATO DAMASHI, GAMAN (Endurance), and the spirit of GANBARU (persistence). In offering the Carolyn Namie Furumoto Scholarship, Tak wishes to honor his wife and also call attention to the courage, strength, and selflessness of all military spouses. 

"Oh," a poem written in honor of Tak and Carolyn's 50th Wedding Anniversary by Emily, a family friend. Image: Courtesy of Furumoto Family. 

Tak and Carol Furumoto in front of Fort Lee, NJ, Municipal Building in support of Fred Korematsu Day, January 30, 2021. Photo: Nick Hayashi

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, 2020, 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, 2020. 
  • 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, 2022, 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 2022.
  • Awards will be presented at a JAVA scholarship awards ceremony on July 23, 2022. 

    2022 JAVA Memorial Scholarship Program Overview here.

    2022 U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye Memorial Scholarship here.

    2022 Ishio Founder's Scholarship here.

    2022 Kiyoko Tsuboi Taubkin Legacy Scholarship here.

    2022 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