Ishio Founder's Memorial Scholarship 

Honoring Army Colonel Phil Sunao Ishio, wife Constance, and son Douglas Ishio

a JAVA Memorial Scholarship for an advanced undergraduate, graduate or professional school student

JAVA is profiling the sacrifices and contributions made by the men and women that our JAVA Memorial Scholarship program honors. Today's issue features the Founder's Memorial Scholarship, which is awarded in honor of JAVA’s founder, Colonel Sunao Phil Ishio, USA, his wife Constance, and their son Douglas Ishio. The Founder's Scholarship is sponsored by the Ishio daughters Julie Tsuchiya and Hollis Molden, and awards $3,000 to an advanced undergraduate (at least two years of college work), graduate or professional school student. Application information can be found at the end of the article as well as on the JAVA website. 

1943 photo taken in Simini, New Guinea. Second from left, Phil Ishio and other MIS  question a Japanese POW. Photo: National Archives.

Colonel Sunao Phil Ishio, USA (Ret), was born in Berkeley, California, and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. After one year at the University of Utah, his family sent him to Tokyo in 1939 to enroll in the economics department of Waseda University. When the U.S. Embassy warned him of deteriorating U.S.-Japan relations, Ishio decided to return to the States. He was drafted into the Army in 1941, then volunteered for the Army Military Intelligence Service, received intensive Japanese language training at Camp Savage, Minnesota, and was shipped to Australia in September 1942. He volunteered for the Papua campaign as well as the Buna campaign, of which he probably was the last surviving Nisei veteran. Allied victory at Buna denied Imperial Japanese forces the staging area needed to invade Australia. In the Leyte campaign with the 6th Army, enemy fighters strafed the vessel on which the Nisei linguists were riding, gravely wounding two of them.

Following Ishio's discharge from the Army in 1947, he obtained his bachelor's and master's degrees from Georgetown University. Upon graduation, he joined the Central Intelligence Agency, participated in the military reserve program, and served at various overseas locations, including in Tokyo, Japan, and Saigon, South Vietnam. After his retirement from the CIA in 1973, he joined the Food and Drug Administration and served as Director of the Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Information System for 17 years until his retirement in 1990.

Constance Kyoko Nayematsu Ishio was born in Crow Agency, Montana, to Yahei and Koume (Mikami) Nayematsu in 1920, and was one of six children. Following high school and before the outbreak of WWII, she studied in Tateyama, Japan. It was in Japan that Constance first met Phil Ishio. After returning to the U.S., she studied at Colorado State Teachers College in Greeley, Colorado, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education. She taught preschool at Riverside Church in New York City before she married Col. Sunao Phil Ishio in 1945. After moving to Washington, DC, with her husband, Constance became involved with a number of volunteer activities and charitable organizations, including a reading program with local elementary school children. She loved to cook and made batches and batches of peanut brittle and blueberry muffins, which she bestowed on her many friends.

The Ishio's beloved son, Douglas, passed away in 2005.

[Ed Note: COL Ishio participated in the Library of Congress' Veterans History Project -]

 Colonel Sunao Phil Ishio, USA (Ret). Photo: Julie Tsuchiya.

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, 2021, 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, 2021. 
  • Past or present members of the Army’s 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry Regiment, 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 uniformed and public 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 Sunday, April 30, 2023, 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 2023.
  • Awards will be presented at a JAVA scholarship awards ceremony on July 8, 2023. 

2023 JAVA Memorial Scholarship Program Overview here.

2023 U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye Memorial Scholarship here.

2023 Ishio Founder's Scholarship here.

2023 Kiyoko Tsuboi Taubkin Legacy Scholarship here.

2023 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