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2016 Scholarship Application Available


As we congratulate the Class of 2015, it’s time for the Japanese American Community to start planning to help out the Class of 2016!  Application materials and the scholarships that are available can be reviewed at this link.  Amongst other eligibility requirements, the applicant or their parents must be a member of at least one of the sponsoring organizations no later than October 15, 2015.  Please check the application and the link above for other requirement  Good Luck!

Dr. Connie Masuoka: 2014 Gladys McCoy Award Winner

On Wednesday, April 16, 2014 Dr. Connie Masuoka was awarded the prestigious Gladys McCoy Award granted to those who have exemplified the life of late county chair Gladys McCoy, an advocate for human and civil rights, children and families, the environment and education. Portland JACL, Connie Masuoka, 2014 Gladys McCoy Award Above: Dr. Connie Masuoka celebrates with friends after her receiving the Gladys McCoy Award for Citizen Involvement on April 16th. Dr. Masuoka volunteers free dental services to the homeless and people in need. She has led the Japanese American Citizens League, the Oregon Nikkei Endowment, which advocates for civil rights and civil liberties protections, and educates people about the history of Japanese Americans, as well as the youth group Unite People. Read more >>>

2014 JACL Scholarship Essay: by Bradley Imai

Explain how the Japanese American experience, or your own experiences in working with the community, has shaped your life.

Portland JACL, Bradley Imai My Japanese American experience began at birth with my parents and grandparents being Japanese American and my Ji-chan, first generation Isei. I was brought up to respect my elders and was close to my Ba-chan who lived with us. She taught me from an early age to listen to my parents, study hard, play hard in sports, respect others and to do the very best I could in everything I did. While probably not unique to being Japanese American, it represented what my grandparents and parents worked for; respect, caring for others and the need to excel. Read more >>>

Congratulations 2014 Portland JACL Board

Portland JACL, President, Kirk Tambara Chip Larouche (l), National JACL Vice President, Planning & Development, swears in the new Board of Directors of PortlandJACL on January 12, 2014, at Chinese Village restaurant, Portland,Oregon. Board members include (l to r) Marlene Wong, Kirk Tambara, Jean Yamamoto, Setsy Larouche, Lynn Longfellow, Connie Masuoka, Susan Leedham, and Chris Lee.Photo by Rich Iwasaki

Congratulations 2013 Japanese Community Scholarship Recipients

Portland JACL 2013 Scholarship Recipients, Elliot Oblander, Laura Suzuki, Ryutaro Morgan, Kristi Fukunaga, Hanna Yamazaki, Ken Fukumoto The 2013 Annual Japanese American Graduation Banquet was held at the Multnomah Athletic Club on Sunday, May 5th, 2013.

2015 Unite People’s Wreath Sale

Portland JACL Youth Wreath Sale

Get ready for the Holidays and reduce your stress by pre-ordering winter greenery to decorate your home or office.  Let us help you decorate by ordering from our lovely selection of wreaths and holiday decorations.  This year, the proceeds will benefit Epworth United Methodist Church who has been very supportive of Unite People by providing them a meeting space and supporting their Summer project.  Download the order form here.


Portland JACL, Donate

Congratulations Class of 2015! ??????????????????????????????? The Portland Japanese American community held their 68th annual graduation banquet on Sunday, May 3rd.  This year, there were 14 high school seniors from within the Portland metropolitan community that were honored for their academic achievements as well as their artistic talent and extracurricular activities. The tradition of the Japanese American Graduation Banquet started in 1948 when Misao Hayashi, wife of Reverend Francis Hayashi of the Epworth Methodist Church, had a reception for the local Japanese American graduates at the Broadway Theater where the students also watched the movie Go for Broke with Van Johnson. This year’s graduates included Emi Hirsh from Grant High School who was awarded the Shokookai of Portland Scholarship.  She is a member of the Portland Youth Philharmonic and had to leave this year’s banquet before the Class of 2015 picture was taken in order to perform that afternoon with the Camerata Chamber Orchestra. Pictured with the class of 2015 in the top row are Madeline Masog of Scappoose High School who was the winner of the Yoshiko Kennedy Scholarship, Justin Kwong of Cleveland High School who received the Mabel Shoji Boggs/State Farm Scholarship, Euri Kashiwagi of Cleveland High School who was awarded the Henjyoji Buddhist Art Award, Kayla Hondo of Southridge High School was presented the Art & Teri Iwasaki Scholarship, Mina Yamasaki from Beaverton High School was the winner of the Hide Naito Scholarship and Braden Yokota from Jesuit High School was awarded the Tsuya Minamoto/Veleda Club Scholarship. In the bottom row, we have Sophia Kawata of Clackamas High School who received the Alice Sumida Award, Meredith Loy from Oregon Episcopal High School who won the Portland JACL- Kiyoko Yumibe Scholarship, Abigail Matsushima from Grant High School who not only was presented the Nisei Veterans’ Athletic Trophy but also won the Matt Masuoka Scholarship.  Madison Lamont from Lake Oswego High School was awarded the Gresham-Troutdale JACL Scholarship, Naomi Sakaguchi of Tigard High School received the Lieutenant Roger T. Okamoto Scholarship, Zack Ragozzino of Lake Oswego High School was presented with the Satsuki Azumano Scholarship and Julius Shellmire from Grant High School received the Alice Sumida Award.


General Membership Meeting — October 15, 2015 — 7 p.m.

Dear Portland JACL Members, There will be a General Membership Meeting on October 15, 2015 at 7 p.m. in the basement of the Oregon Buddhist Temple. On June 18th, the Portland JACL board voted to send a number of amendments to the Chapter Constitution and Bylaws that are summarized below, and these amendments will be discussed and voted upon at this General Membership Meeting. We have posted a copy of what the amended Constitution and Bylaws will look like in a “track changes” format so that you can see what was deleted and what was added or changed from the previous versions. You can download a copy of all the changes here.

Thank you!

Kirk Tambara

Summary of Proposed Changes to Portland JACL Constitution and Bylaws  Constitution

  • Preamble: Language changes to match protected categories of National Constitution
  • Article III, Section 1: Changes membership qualifications to permit non-citizens
  • Article IV, Section 2: Changes Composition of Chapter Board to up to 15 elected and up to five appointed
  • Article V, Section 2: Makes the Membership Chair an officer rather than the historian
  • Article V, Section 3: Makes the default delegates the President and Vice-President with accommodation to have board votes for delegates if officers chose not to serve.
  • Article VI, Section 6: Adds the Chapter website as a place to post amendments


  • Article I, Section 1: Removes mentioning the Pacific Citizen as a specific organizational benefit (doesn’t remove the benefit)
  • Article I, Section 2: Simplifies membership paragraph by aligning it with National’s definitions including the elimination of Special (alien) Membership
  • Article I, Section 3: Makes the Youth/Student membership language consistent with National
  • Article I, Section 4: Removes never used Senior membership
  • Article I, New Section 3: Adds National Supporting Members without specifics, leaving that to the National Bylaws
  • Article I, Section 5: Removes the never used JAY membership
  • Article I, Section 7: Makes cosmetic Booster Membership language changes
  • Article II Section 2-3: Makes Changes to Composition to Chapter Board to be consistent with Constitution Changes above
  • Article II, Section 4: Removes the requirement for the President to make all his nominations for board members in January.
  • Article II, Sect 5: Makes the appointment of an board member who leaves by resignation, death, etc., as optional
  • Article II, Section 6: Allows Board consensus to skip monthly meeting without a formal vote
  • Article III, Section 1: Removes Historian as an officer
  • Article III, Section 1: Provides for two delegates per National rules
  • Article V, Section 1: Modifies how many non-board members are on the nominating committee
  • Article V, Section 1: Provides for a slate to be provided for in the newsletter

Portland JACL Unite People youth group, Abby Matsushima, Grant High School:

Young Reflections: Our JACL Youth on the 2014 JACL National Convention in San Jose

Abby Matsushima (Grant High School) and Kirt Achterman (Central Catholic High School) share their thoughts with us about their leadership experience at this year’s 2014 JACL National Convention in San Jose, California. Read More >>>