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 will continue to develop national programs and strategies to carry out its mission. We will promote the continuous regeneration of leadership in all aspects of public and community life, and fulfill our vision in the future.  The JACL has offered scholarships to deserving young adults for many years as a part of this vision.

2018 Scholarships

All scholarship applications and supplemental documents were due on Friday, March 2, 2018 by 11:59 pm PST. No further scholarship applications are being accepted at this time.

An individual can apply for more than one scholarship. An individual ill 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 receive more than two scholarships in total.  Please note, in general, local area applicants may receive consideration over non-area applicants.

Aki Kurose Memorial Scholarship

Deadline: 11:59 PM PST on Friday, March 2, 2018

Amount: $2,000

Aki Kurose was an educator, peace activist and community organizer, and mother of five.  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.  The Aki Kurose Memorial Scholarship is a $2000 scholarship and will be presented at the luncheon.

Cherry and Mas Kinoshita Scholarship

Deadline: 11:59 PM PST on Friday, March 2, 2018

Amount: $2,000

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 applicants who are of Japanese ancestry, or individual members of the Seattle JACL, or active in the Seattle JACL community, and who plan 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 $2,000 scholarship and will be presented at our Chapter’s Scholarship luncheon.

Dr. Susumu Shimokon Memorial Scholarship

Deadline: 11:59 PM PST on Friday, March 2, 2018

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

Elaine Reiko Akagi Scholarship

Deadline: 11:59 PM PST on Friday, March 2, 2018

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, which 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.  This year we will consider applicants who are in a related services field, i.e. school psychology or occupational, physical or speech therapy.

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 luncheon.

Minoru Tamesa and/or Bunshiro Tazuma Scholarship

Deadline: 11:59 PM PST on Friday, March 2, 2018

Amount: $2,000 (Minoru Tamesa) and $2,000 (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 locked up.  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 established he 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 community engagement.  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.  The Minoru Tamesa and Bunshiro Tazuma Scholarships are both $2,000 scholarships that will be presented at the luncheon.

Applications and all supporting documents must be uploaded by 11:59 PM PST Friday, March 2, 2018.

If you have questions about the application process, contact