Japanese American Veterans Association


Vol. 2, No. 23, July 19, 2020

Meet the 2020 JAVA Memorial Scholarship Winners!

(click here to watch a recording of Scholarship Awards Ceremony)

The Japanese American Veterans Association (JAVA) announces the winners of the annual memorial scholarship award program for 2020. Outstanding students from around the country applied for the scholarships. The candidates for the JAVA scholarships were incredibly talented and accomplished; and all applicants would be worthy of receiving a JAVA scholarship to continue the legacy of the Nisei service to country, despite facing tremendous obstacles placed by their government.

The scholarships will continue to benefit a range of graduating high school seniors, undergraduate students, graduate and professional education students.

The $5,000.00 memorial scholarship honoring the late U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye’s iconic career of military and civilian public service goes to T.J. Okamura. He is currently a Specialist in the Military Intelligence Corps. In the fall, T.J. will begin working on a Master's in International Studies with a focus on Japan at the University of Washington. He will also participate in the U.S. Army Reserve Officer Training Corps while concurrently enrolled at the University of Washington.

The $3,000.00 Founder’s Scholarship, named for JAVA’s founder, the late Colonel Sunao Phil Ishio, his wife Constance and their son Douglas Ishio, goes to Caitlin Emi Takeda. Caitlin just completed her senior year at Brown University and will begin her first year at Brown University Warren Alpert Medical School in the fall. For her undergraduate senior thesis project, she made two summer pilgrimages to Heart Mountain where she documented and photographed Nisei she met.  

The Kiyoko Tsuboi Taubkin Legacy Scholarship, a $2,000 award in honor of a longtime patron of JAVA was awarded to a graduate student pursing an MBA and MA in Government, who is interested in public health research and advocacy

The JAVA Memorial Scholarships, awarded to graduating high school seniors, each in the amount of $1,500, go to:

Kiara Emi Kubota Stromberg, in honor of Dr. Americo Bugliani and his liberator, Paul Sakamoto, 442nd veteran;

Chloe Elyse Hana Nelson, in honor of Ranger Grant Jiro Hirabayashi, MIS veteran;

Sophia Daniel in honor of COL Jimmie Kanaya, a three-war veteran - WWII, Korean and Vietnam;

Kylie Reiko Ginoza, in honor of CWO 4 Mitsugi Murakami Kasai, MIS veteran;

Helena Kimiko Nukuto, in honor of Sergeant Ben Kuroki, a gunner in the U.S. Army Air Corps, 505th Bombardment Group;

Camille Yuriko Tom, in honor of Victor Matsui, MIS veteran and his wife Teru Matsui;

Dawson Hideo Gomez Tokishi, in honor of past JAVA President and Korean War veteran, Bob Nakamoto;

Joseph Paul Nakasone, in honor of Major Muneo Michael Okusa, MIS veteran;

Sarah Keiko Sakakihara, in honor of Betty Shima, lifelong partner of 442nd veteran, Terry Shima;

Grace Xiang Bost, in honor of Major Orville Shirey, 442nd veteran and his wife Maud Shirey;

The future of our nation is in great hands, knowing these young individuals will be at the forefront! 

T. J. Okamura, Washington

University of Washington

Inouye Memorial Scholarship

Caitlin Emi Takeda, California

Brown University Warren Alpert Medical School 

Ishio Founder's Scholarship

Kiara Emi Kubota Stromberg, California

University of California, Los Angeles 

Dr. Americo Bugliani Scholarship

Chloe Elyse Hana Nelson, California

University of California, Los Angeles 

Ranger Grant Hirabayashi Scholarship

Sophia Daniel, Hawaii  

Kapi'olani Community College

Colonel Jimmie Kanaya Scholarship

Kylie Reiko Ginoza, Hawaii

University of Utah

 CWO 4 Mitsugi Kasai Scholarship

Helena Kimiko Nukuto, Ohio

University of Cincinnati

Sergeant Ben Kuroki Scholarship

Camille Yuriko Tom, California

Biola University

Victor and Teru Matsui Scholarship

Dawson Hideo Gomez Tokishi, Hawaii    

Pacific University, OR

Robert Nakamoto Scholarship

Joseph Paul Nakasone, Maryland

Dartmouth College

Major Mike Okusa Scholarship

Sarah Keiko Sakakihara, Hawaii

California Polytechnic State University

Betty Shima Scholarship

Grace Xiang Bost, California

University of California, San Diego 

Major Orville and Maud Shirey Scholarship

Updates from past JAVA Memorial Scholarship Awardees!

Mike Bosack, 2018 Daniel K Inouye Memorial Scholarship awardee, during an interview with NHK (Japan's national broadcasting company).

Since receiving the Inouye Scholarship in 2019, Mike Bosack has completed his Ph.D. in International Relations and taken on the position as the Deputy Secretary of the United Nations Military Armistice Commission in Korea. In this role, he is responsible for maintaining and enforcing the terms of armistice to preserve security and stability on the Korean Peninsula. This requires communication and negotiation with North Korean officials and advising senior leaders from the more than twenty nations that comprise United Nations Command and the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission. In addition, he has published academic articles in the Naval War College Review and the International Journal of Korean Studies. He is also a featured contributor for the Japan Times, where he publishes commentary on Japanese politics and security.

“The JAVA scholarship was critical for aiding my academic studies and supporting me in pursuit of my accomplishments of the past few years. I am ever grateful for the opportunity to represent JAVA and the legacy of the late Senator Daniel K. Inouye.”

Dr. Monica Matsumoto, 2019 Ishio Founder's Memorial Scholarship awardee with proud parents.

Monica Matsumoto recently shared the exciting news that she joined the University of Pennsylvania’s integrated Interventional Radiology residency program in July 2020. Dr. Matsumoto, who graduated from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine in May 2020, expressed her sincere appreciation for the scholarship and how much the funds helped her finance her last year of medical education expenses.

Jamie Ryan, 2011 Grant Hirabayashi Memorial Scholarship awardee, next to a telescope at the VERITAS Observatory in Arizona.

"The scholarship helped allow me to graduate from Harvard in 2015 and, consequently, to enter UCLA where I am currently pursuing a PhD in astrophysics. My thesis project will attempt to learn about the nature of dark matter using cosmic ray anti-matter. I am still grateful to JAVA for their generosity.

"Thinking of the scholarship, I can’t help but be reminded of the role Japanese-American veterans have had in securing the opportunity Japanese-Americans like myself can enjoy today. Through JAVA members like Terry Shima, I was made aware of the incredible courage and patriotism demonstrated by Ranger
Hirabayashi and others like him, including fellow MIS member R. Lee Ujifusa, my grandfather, in the face of great adversity and prejudice.  Their example paved the way out of an era of widespread anti-Japanese sentiment, and the lives they led continue to inspire me today."

Nikki Ooka, 2019 Calvin Ninomiya Memorial Scholarship awardee.

Nikki is entering her sophomore year at the University of Washington. She is planning to major in biology and eventually study medicine. “With everything that is going on in the world today, I am even more inspired to go into the medical field to help those around me.”

Jalyn  Matsumoto, 2018 Senha Memorial Scholarship awardee.

Jalyn, who hails from Oahu is currently pursuing a degree in Sport and Exercise Science with a minor in Psychology at the University of Northern Colorado where she is Vice President of the UNCO Hawaii Club and the Pre-Physical Therapy Club. After completing her undergraduate degree, Jalyn plans to pursue a Doctorate of Physical Therapy. 

Bryce Katahara, 2019 Betty Shima Memorial Scholarship awardee. 

Bryce had an outstanding freshman year at Cedarville University. As a mechanical engineering major, he participated in Cedarville's Supermileage Vehicle Team and Biomedical Engineering Group and was on the Dean's List. However, he has decided to change majors from Mechanical Engineering to Nursing. “I felt that I was no longer being called to engineering and instead to health service...I have also switched my focus from NUPOC to the Navy Nurse Candidate Program as I have always wanted to serve my country in keeping with the tradition of the Katahara family; my father, grandfather, and great grandfather.”

Elaine Oyama, 2019 Major Orville and Maud Shirey Memorial Scholarship awardee, with samplings of Kikari Coffee. 

Although she only graduated high school in 2019, Elaine is already a rising pre-med senior at the University of Texas, San Antonio. She has plans to apply and serve in United States Air Force as part of the Health Professions Scholarship Program and become a medical oncologist-hematologist. Elaine continues her advocacy work with the Oyama Trust to aid victims of sexual, domestic, and psychological abuse. She is also keeps busy as the founder/owner/CEO of Hikari Coffee Company, LLC. and serves her community one bag of fresh-roasted coffee at a time!

Brett Wada, 2019 Kiyoko Tsuboi Taubkin Memorial Scholarship awardee.

Brett Wada wrote to let us know that he had a great first year at Cal State Fullerton. Brett “switched majors from business to biology because I’ve decided that I want to be a pediatric doctor in the future!” He also has taken up biking as a hobby during the pandemic.

Questions or Suggestions: Please contact Neet Ford, JAVA e-Advocate Editor, at javapotomac@gmail.com.

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

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