Japanese American Veterans Association


Vol. 3, No. 37, July 22, 2021

Meet the 2021 JAVA Memorial Scholarship Winners!

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

(click here to read JAVA President Gerald Yamada's remarks at the Ceremony)

The Japanese American Veterans Association is pleased to announce the 14 winners of the 2021 Memorial Scholarship Program. 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.

The $3,000 memorial scholarship honoring the late U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye’s iconic career of military and civilian public service was awarded to Samantha Kanekuni, of Baltimore, Maryland. The granddaughter of Isamu Kanekuni, 442nd RCT, Samantha is working towards a J.D. at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law.

The $3,000 Founder’s Scholarship named for JAVA’s founder, the late Colonel Phil Ishio, his wife Constance and their son Douglas Ishio, was awarded to Madeleine Matsui, of Cambridge, Massachusetts. The granddaughter of Victor Matsui, MIS, Madeleine just completed her first year at Harvard Law School.

The Kiyoko Tsuboi Taubkin Legacy Scholarship, a $2,000 award in honor of a longtime patron of JAVA was awarded to Jairus Iwasaki, the grandson of Shigetoshi Iwasaki, 442nd RCT, of Hilo, Hawaiʻi. Jairus is pursuing a B.A. in Education at the University of Hawaiʻi, Manoa.

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

Malina Miura, received a JAVA Memorial Scholarship in honor of Dr. Americo Bugliani and his liberator, Paul Sakamoto, 100th Bn. Malina is the grandniece of Douglas Tanaka 442nd RCT, and is from Culver City, California. She will attend the University of California, Irvine, and plans to work towards a Bachelor of Fine Arts.

Kyle Kuwahara received the Tak and Carolyn Furumoto JAVA Memorial Scholarship, in honor of Tak’s late father Sam Kiyoto Furumoto. Kyle is the grandson of Keso Kuwahara, 6007th ASU, and the grandnephew of Kozu Kuroda, Kenzo Kuroda, and Goro Kuroda who all served in the 442nd RCT. Kyle is from Berkeley, California. He will attend the University of California, Berkeley, and plans to study Computer Science.

Juliana Ibaraki received a JAVA Memorial Scholarship, in honor of Ranger Grant Jiro Hirabayashi, MIS. Juliana is the granddaughter of Thomas Ibaraki, 100th Battalion, and is from Manhattan Beach, California. She will attend the University of Greenwich in London, and plans to study Public Health.

Garrett Tamura received a JAVA Memorial Scholarship in honor of COL Jimmie Kanaya, a three-war veteran - WWII, Korea and Vietnam. Garrett is the grandson of Kunima Tamura, MIS, and is from Torrance, California. He will attend California State University, Long Beach, and plans to study Mechanical Engineering.

Mari Kanemoto received a JAVA Memorial Scholarship in honor of CWO4 Mitsugi Murakami Kasai, MIS. Mari is the granddaughter of Harry Yoshio Ishibashi, 442 RCT/ 522nd Field Artillery, and is from Seattle, Washington. She will attend Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, ID, and study Nursing.

Cassidy Hanano received a JAVA Memorial Scholarship in honor of Sergeant Ben Kuroki, a gunner in the U.S. Army Air Corps, 505th Bombardment Group. Cassidy is the grandniece of Charles Hanano, 442nd RCT, and is from Wailuku, Hawaiʻi. She will attend Creighton University in Omaha, NE, and is Pre-Med.

Micah Katahara received a JAVA Memorial Scholarship in honor of Victor Matsui, MIS, and his wife Teru Matsui. Micah is the great-grandson of Sadami Katahara, 442nd RCT, and the son of JAVA member CAPT Michael Katahara, USN (Ret). He is from Great Falls, Virginia. Micah will attend the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA, and plans to study Economics.

Evan Haramoto received a JAVA Memorial Scholarship in honor of Colonel Virgil R. Miller, Commanding Officer of the 442nd RCT. Evan is the great-grandnephew of George Ryoji Yamada, 442nd RCT, and is from Whittier, California. He will attend the University of California, San Diego, and plans to study Biology.

Ethan Murakami received a JAVA Memorial Scholarship in honor of past JAVA President and Korean War veteran, Bob Nakamoto. Ethan is the great-grandnephew of Seichi Tsugawa, 442nd RCT, and is from Kaneohe, Hawaiʻi. He will attend Emory University in Atlanta, GA, and plans to study Economics.

Nicholas Gima received a JAVA Memorial Scholarship in honor of Betty Shima, lifelong partner of Terry Shima, 442nd RCT and former JAVA Executive Director. Nicholas is the grandnephew of Shinye Gima, MIS, and is from Kula, Hawaiʻi. He will attend California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, CA, and plans to study Engineering.

Arisa Aloiau received a JAVA Memorial Scholarship in honor of Major Orville Shirey, 442nd RCT, and his wife Maud Shirey. Arisa is the granddaughter of Hiroshi Kato, 442nd RCT, and is from Honolulu, Hawaiʻi. She will attend the University of Hawaiʻi, Manoa, and plans to study Marketing.

JAVA thanks the Scholarship Committee - Mrs. Chris DeRosa, Chair; Ms. Dawn Eilenberger, JD, former Deputy Director of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence; Major Kay Izumihara, USAR; and CAPT (Dr) Cynthia Macri, MC, USN (Ret).

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

To learn more about our JAVA scholarships visit our website at https://java-us.org/JAVA-Memorial-Scholarship-Program.

Samantha Kanekuni, Maryland

University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law 

U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye Memorial Scholarship

Madeleine Matsui, Massachusetts

Harvard Law School 

Ishio Founder's Scholarship

Jairus Iwasaki, Hawai'i

University of Hawai'i, Manoa

Kyoko Tsuboi Taubkin Legacy Scholarship

Malina Miura, California

University of California, Irvine 

Dr. Americo Bugliani Scholarship

in honor of Paul Sakamoto, 100th Bn

Kyle Kuwahara, California

University of California, Berkeley 

Tak and Carolyn Furumoto Scholarship

in honor of Sam Kiyoto Furumoto

Juliana Ibaraki, California

University of Greenwich, London 

Ranger Grant Hirabayashi Scholarship

Garrett Tamura, California

California State University, Long Beach

Colonel Jimmie Kanaya Scholarship

Mari Kanemoto, Washington

Northwest Nazarene University

 CWO 4 Mitsugi Kasai Scholarship

Cassidy Hanano, Hawai'i

Creighton University

Sergeant Ben Kuroki Scholarship

Micah Katahara, Virginia

College of William and Mary

Victor and Teru Matsui Scholarship

Evan Haramoto, California

University of California, San Diego

Colonel Virgil R. Miller Scholarship

Ethan Murakami, Hawai'i    

Emory University

Robert Nakamoto Scholarship

Nicholas Gima, Hawai'i

California Polytechnic State University

Betty Shima Scholarship

Arisa Aloiau, Hawai'i

University of Hawai'i, Manoa 

Major Orville and Maud Shirey Scholarship

Updates from past JAVA Memorial Scholarship Awardees!

Kayla L. Muraoka, 2016 Victor and Teru Matsui Memorial Scholarship 

Last August, I graduated from Santa Clara University with a dual degree in Management Information Systems and Japanese Business Studies. Because of the pandemic, I moved home immediately and finished school virtually and started working for an engineering consulting firm in Hawaii as a database administrator. During my time at Santa Clara University, I was actively involved on campus as a student ambassador, member of the women’s club ultimate frisbee team, Kappa Kappa Gamma Eta Nu chapter, Intramural basketball team, and silent auction lead for Relay for Life. My time at Santa Clara University has been nothing short of amazing and filled with many challenges and growth. In my senior year, participated in a semester-long study abroad in Nagoya, Japan at Nanzan University (南山大学), where I had the opportunity to experience the daily life of a local Japanese college student and reconnecting with my Japanese heritage and gain a deeper understanding of the Japanese culture. Some of the best memories I have made abroad include: viewing a traditional Japanese Taiko performance; eating puffer fish for the first time; listening to a Rakugo storytelling performance; making traditional and elegant Japanese sweets and crafts with gold leaf while enjoying a night at a ryokan (traditional Japanese inn).

This month I will begin a new chapter in my life as I will be joining Cost Plus World Market, a national chain of specialty/import retail stores, as an inventory management specialist for their food and decorative accessories division at their corporate office in San Francisco. I’m thrilled to be taking this next step in my professional career and excited to continue to learn and grow within the retail and fashion industry. This is a dream come true and I can’t wait to begin the next chapter of my life in San Francisco.

Sarah Nakasone, 2016-17 U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye Scholarship

Sarah Nakasone completed two years of graduate education in the U.K. where she studied Global Health and Security. She now works as a research assistant in national security and political economy at the American Enterprise Institute. 

Fiona Koye, 2019 Tashio Scholarship 

I am currently studying Natural Resources Management at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. I just got back from a summer program at the ranger school where eI learned about forestry technology and tree identification. Here Is a picture of me at the ranger school in front of New York’s oldest white pine. 

Daniel Nakasone, 2019 U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye Scholarship 

I just graduated from University of Virginia with my B.A. in Economics. Next year, I will be work towards (and finish) my Master of Public Policy degree also from UVA. After that, I will be starting work for the Boston Consulting Group in their DC office.

T.J. Okamura, 2020 U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye Scholarship

While this year has been challenging, I just finished out my first year of my M.A. degree in Japan Studies with a 3.85 GPA and am currently at Fort Knox, Kentucky for Cadet Summer Training. CST is one of the final major steps to becoming a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army. E4 mafia!

Caitlin Takeda, 2020 Ishio Founder's Scholarship

Caitlin just finished her first year at Alpert Medical School of Brown University as a MD-MSc candidate in the Primary Care - Population Medicine Program. She has been spending the summer doing remote research on women’s reproductive healthcare provision from Seattle, WA. Her medical interests include Family Medicine and OB/GYN, and she hopes residency will bring her back to her home on the West Coast in a few years.

Grace Bost, 2020 Major Orville and Maud Shirey Scholarship 

First off, thank you again for the generous scholarship; with it, I was able to focus more on my studies and become involved in school activities.

During my freshman year at UCSD, I did well academically, joined a pre-law fraternity, and became vice president for the club gymnastics team on campus. In addition, I recently became employed as a writing tutor at UCSD's Writing Center. 

Sophia Daniels, 2020 Colonel Jimmie Kanaya Scholarship

I am currently attending Kapi'olani Community College and am going to be a sophomore.  My major changed this Spring semester to Liberal Arts with a concentration in English to become an Environmental Writer.  I am currently working as a peer mentor in the first year office at Kapi'olani Community College and have been since the Spring semester, helping first year incoming students with the required steps to be a successful student; I enjoy watching the incoming students learn and grow while preparing for their college journeys.  I also began serving as the Ecology Club president this Spring semester, collaborating with my team of club officers, members, faculty, and other individuals outside of Kapi'olani Community College.  I thank God for providing these opportunities for me and am excited to continue on my college journey :). 

Chloe Nelson, 2020 Ranger Grant Hirabayashi Scholarship

I just completed my freshman year at UCLA and am currently in summer school. I have been studying biology, math, and minoring in global studies. I hope to pursue a career in graduate studies or the medical field. While the pandemic has kept me at home this past year, I performed in several virtual harp ensemble groups and am moving in a few weeks to volunteer for event planning and outreach for incoming students! I am so thankful to JAVA and the Hirabayashi family for being a recipient of the Ranger Grant Hirabayashi scholarship. His service and amazing contributions to the Japanese-American legacy have been a great source of inspiration & courage.

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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