JACL Vision

Established in 1921, the vision of the Japanese American Citizens League is to be one of the nation’s preeminent organizations in the United States in the areas of multi-ethnic and multi-cultural understanding and civil and human rights.  The JACL continues to develop national programs and strategies to carry out this mission. We promote the continuous regeneration of leadership in all aspects of public and community life; as a part of this vision, the JACL has offered scholarships to deserving young adults for many years.

2024 Scholarships

All scholarship applications and supplemental documents are due on Sunday, March 3, 2024 by 11:59 pm PST. 

An individual can apply for more than one scholarship. An individual will not be awarded more than one scholarship in a given year. A prior year awardee can apply for a different scholarship in a different year. An individual may not receive more than two scholarships in total. Please note: in general, local area applicants may receive consideration over non-area applicants.

The applicant will upload all required documentation with the online application.  It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that all required documentation is submitted.  If there is any difficulty, please let the scholarship committee chair, Mika Rothman mkuroserothman@gmail.com, know ahead of the deadline.  If the committee does not timely receive all required documentation the result will be a loss of points or possible disqualification for the applicant.

Scholarship recipients are required to use their scholarship award funds within 12 months, or the subsequent academic year. Exceptions to this requirement will be considered on an individual basis.

The Seattle JACL Scholarship process has three parts:

  • An online application to be submitted by March 3, 2024 11:59 PM PST.
  • For applicants who score high on the online application, a mandatory virtual (online) interview on April 20, 2024.
  • For selected awardees, attendance at the award ceremony lunch on Saturday, May 4, 2024.

Note:  It is the applicant’s responsibility to attend the virtual interview.  If the committee cannot interview the applicant on the above date, the applicant may be disqualified.  For any circumstance requiring an accommodation, please contact the committee chair, Mika Rothman mkuroserothman@gmail.com, as soon as possible.

Aki Kurose Memorial Scholarship

Deadline: 11:59 PM PST on Sunday, March 3, 2024

Amount: $3,000

Aki Kurose was an educator, peace activist and community organizer, and mother of six.  Aki Kurose loved children and thrived as a teacher.  Kurose’s effectiveness lay in her ability to engage all students regardless of their backgrounds.  Each day, class started with exercises outside.  There, students sent their angry, frustrated, or sad feelings into the atmosphere to clear the way for learning.  She often told people:

“Without peace, real learning cannot take place.  Real interaction with others, meaningful interaction, cannot take place.”

Aki Kurose embodied the principles of the JACL vision.  After her death, the Seattle JACL established a scholarship in her name to enable students to continue their higher education, which would enable them to give back to the community with the commitment shared by Aki Kurose and the Seattle JACL. Applicants for this scholarship must be starting their first year of post-secondary education (university, college, community college, or other educational institution). The Aki Kurose Memorial Scholarship is a $3,000 scholarship and will be presented at the scholarship award lunch.

Cherry and Mas Kinoshita Scholarship

Deadline: 11:59 PM PST on Sunday, March 3, 2024

Amount: $3,000

Cherry and Mas Kinoshita were very active in the area of civil rights/civil liberties.  Their contribution and leadership towards the redress for Japanese Americans’ incarceration during World War II was immense.  Cherry Kinoshita received the prestigious Washington State Jefferson Award for her work on Japanese American Redress.

The Cherry and Mas Kinoshita Scholarship will be given to an applicant who is of Japanese ancestry, an individual member of the Seattle JACL, or active in the Seattle JACL community, and who plans to pursue or is pursuing studies and/or a career in political science, law, education, journalism, Asian American Studies, or other field leading to service to the community.  The Cherry and Mas Kinoshita Scholarship is a $3,000 scholarship and will be presented at the scholarship award lunch.

Dr. Susumu Shimokon Memorial Scholarship

Deadline: 11:59 PM PST on Sunday, March 3, 2024

Amount: $5,000

Dr. Susumu Shimokon was born in Seattle on May 27, 1923 and died on March 30, 2010.  Dr. Shimokon, a Seattle resident, was interned at Minidoka during World War II.  He later graduated from the Ohio State University College of Dentistry and earned post-graduate certificates in Oral Surgery and Periodontology from the New York University College of Dentistry. Dr. Shimokon served in the US Army from 1955 to 1970, received his education through the US Army and spent his career as an oral surgeon, retiring with a rank of Major.

Dr. Shimokon left part of his estate to the Seattle JACL. In his honor, the Seattle JACL established the Dr. Susumu Shimokon Scholarship in 2013.  We are indebted to Dr. Susumu Shimokon’s generosity in supporting the educational needs of future generations.  The Shimokon Memorial Scholarship is a $5,000 scholarship and will be presented at the scholarship award lunch.

Elaine Reiko Akagi Scholarship

Deadline: 11:59 PM PST on Sunday, March 3, 2024

Amount: $3,000

The Elaine Reiko Akagi Scholarship was launched in 2011 as a scholarship intended to encourage people of color to enter the field of education (teaching) with preference to those entering Special Education.  This is an area of education that unfortunately sees many students of color, but an area where the students don’t see role models that look like them.  It is the goal of this scholarship to bring some equality to the ratio of students and teachers of color.

Elaine Reiko Akagi retired as an educator in 2010 after 38 years in the public school system.  She was a community activist, mentor, and advocate for children of color.  She worked with students in many settings, from preschool through high school.  She saw the relief on a parent’s face when the parent saw a teacher who looked like her child.  There was an instant connection.  And the students, too, connected with someone who “looked” like them.  Ms. Akagi passed away on October 19, 2012 after a very brief but courageous battle with pancreatic cancer.  The Elaine Reiko Akagi scholarship is a $3,000 scholarship and will be presented at the scholarship award lunch.

Minoru Tamesa and/or Bunshiro Tazuma Scholarship

Deadline: 11:59 PM PST on Sunday, March 3, 2024

Amount: $3,000 (Minoru Tamesa) and $3,000 (Bunshiro Tazuma)

Minoru Tamesa was a leader of the Heart Mountain Incarceration Camp “Fair Play Committee.”  This group resisted the WWII draft on the basis that although they wanted to serve in the army, this was not possible while Japanese Americans were incarcerated.  Tamesa was arrested and he took his case to the Supreme Court where he personally argued:

“I believe that loyalty is like a covenant between a citizen and his country. A man should fight for his country. On the other hand, he should feel his cause is just, that he is accorded the full privileges of a citizen in a democratic nation.”

Upon Tamesa’s death, his father Uhachi Tamesa endowed a Seattle JACL scholarship in his son’s honor.

Bunshiro Tazuma was one of Seattle’s pioneer Issei, first generation.  He arrived in the US in 1908 and worked as a railroad hand, dishwasher, cook, and on a fishing fleet before opening his own restaurant in Seattle’s Nihonmachi and later establishing the Tazuma 10 Cent Store.  After the war and incarceration at Minidoka, Tazuma operated the Benson Hotel on the current site of the Seattle Sheraton.  Tazuma represents the very best of our immigrant Issei generation– hard-working, sacrificing for family, and engaged in the community.  After his death, Tazuma’s four Nisei children established a scholarship in their father’s name to keep his legacy alive.

The Minoru Tamesa and Bunshiro Tazuma scholarships are available to applicants who are of Japanese ancestry, individual members of the Seattle JACL, or active in the Japanese American community. Applicants must also be an undergraduate student in the upcoming academic year, i.e,  an incoming freshman or returning undergraduate. Special consideration will be given to incoming freshmen. The Minoru Tamesa and Bunshiro Tazuma Scholarships are both $3,000 scholarships that will be presented at the award luncheon.

Applications and all supporting documents must be uploaded by 11:59 PM PST Sunday, March 3, 2024.

If you have questions about the application process, contact Mika Rothman at mkuroserothman@gmail.com.