JACL National Scholarships

Students who are members of the Japanese American Citizens League can apply for National JACL scholarships.

Click to open National Scholarship program in a new window

Local Nikkei Community Scholarships

Application materials for local community scholarships are available

See JACOMMUNITYScholarshipApplication.

Deadline: Required documents must be complete and be postmarked no later than March 1st. 

You may email any questions to

(Eligibility for the Community Scholarships is specified on the application form.)

The “Local” Scholarship Application must be mailed to the address on JACOMMUNITYScholarshipApplication.

Common Mistakes in Applying for a Scholarship

  • Filling out the scholarship application for the incorrect year. Each year a new application form is available.
  • Application is not postmarked by the due date. All applications that are late are rejected.
  • Filling out the incorrect form. Students have filled out the national application form for JACL when they intended to apply for the local scholarship.
  • Part of the application is missing.
  • All paperwork needs to be completed: application form, SAT/ACT scores, official transcript, one essay and one short answer and one letter of recommendation

Local Scholarships and Awards Offered (may not be given annually)

Satsuki Azumano Scholarship
This scholarship was established by George Azumano, founder of Azumano Travel in memory of his mother. Mrs. Azumano immigrated to Portland in 1917. She and her husband ran a grocery store in Portland. She believed in the value of a college education and encouraged both of her children to pursue higher education.

Mabel Shoji Boggs Scholarship
The Portland JACL is honored to administer the scholarships provided by trust funds from the Mabel Shoji Boggs estate. She was a hard working Nisei all her life, laboring in the orchards and running a small business in Philomath, Oregon. Her lifetime generosity to high school seniors as well as to many Japanese American organizations has benefited the Nikkei community in countless ways.

The Henjyoji Shingon Buddhist Temple  – Traditional Japanese Art Award Scholarship. 
The Temple was founded in April, 1940 and provides not only Shingon Buddhist services; but Japanese Cultural Arts studies such as Flower Arrangement (Ikebana), Tea Ceremony (Cha-do) and Japanese Calligraphy (Sho-do). This award honors a student pursuing one of the Japanese cultural arts. 

High school students who have artistic talent in a Traditional Japanese Artform are encouraged to submit an application for the Traditional Japanese Art Award in addition to the Community Scholarship Application.

Click here for their 2020 scholarship application.

The Art and Teri Iwasaki Scholarship
Art Iwasaki was a member of the 442nd Combat team during World War II and a founding member of the Oregon Nisei Veterans, serving as their commander a number of times. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Nisei War Memorial at Rose City Cemetery and a leader in building the memorial wall for the Japanese American Veterans at the Beaverton War Memorial Park. He offers this scholarship in memory of his loving wife, Teri.

Gresham-Troutdale JACL
The GT JACL is part of the oldest Japanese American civil rights organization in America. It serves not only to protest the rights Asians but also any minority. Locally, it nurtures the cultural heritage of the Japanese ancestry.

Yoshiko Kennedy Scholarship
Portland JACL has the honor of presenting the Portland JACL Leadership Scholarship to deserving high school students seeking to further their education in pursuit of a better tomorrow. This scholarship is offered in memory of Yoshiko Kennedy who utilized her talents as a seamstress and a master of Ikebana to ensure her children would receive a college education and find success in her adopted country. Yoshiko’s son Jim Kennedy is a board member of the Portland JACL.

Matthew Masuoka Scholarship
He was a Nisei dentist who was past president of the Portland JACL, 1952, and Pacific Northwest District Governor, 1953-55. Dr. Masuoka was born in Portland but moved to Japan as a child to be raised by his relatives during the hard times of the Depression. His childhood experiences helped shape his belief that the Japanese American community needed to work together and support each other. This scholarship is given in his honor by his wife, Nobuko Masuoka.

Tsuya Minamoto Scholarship
Each year, the Japanese Ancestral Society has the honor of presenting this scholarship in memory of Tsuya Minamoto who emigrated from Japan in 1915. Like others, she endured the hardships of losing a husband as well as being interned during WWII. Her oldest child, Mary Minamoto, has continued to keep her memory alive by this annual generous donation.

Hideo Naito Scholarship
This scholarship is given in memory of Hideo Naito who immigrated from Kobe, Japan in 1917. He began a curio shop business, Norcrest China which has grown into retail and real estate investments. Mr. Naito was a creative entrepreneur and avid gardener who invented and marketed the invisible bobby pin and was the first to raise and sell exotic cactus plants.

Nikkei Fujinkai Scholarship
The Portland Nikkei Fujinkai is a Japanese Ancestral Women’s Association which was established in July 1935. They support community activities and cultural education.

Roger T Okamoto Scholarship
For over forty years, the Hisashi Okamoto Family has been providing a scholarship to honor their son, Roger Okamoto. Second Lieutenant Roger Okamoto was killed by a Viet Cong land mine in 1966 near the city of Da Nang, Vietnam, where he was serving as a platoon leader. The Oregon Nikkei Veterans proudly accepts the responsibility of selecting the recipient of this scholarship.

Portland Chapter JACL
The Portland Chapter of JACL is a membership based organization that was established in 1928 with an original purpose to fight social injustice directed toward people of Japanese ancestry and to preserve the cultural heritage and values of Japanese Americans. Its major programs include the graduation banquet and scholarship, it is also a major sponsor of the annual Mochitsuki festival and the Nikkei Community Picnic, and the distributor of a community-wide monthly newsletter and calendar.

Shokookai of Portland
Shokookai of Portland was founded in 1966, as small group of Japanese companies. Representatives met to discuss common issues such as education and health care. Aiding social and business organizations, they facilitate business operation for Japanese companies in Oregon and South Washington and run a Japanese Language school.

State Farm Scholarship
State Farm Insurance has generously donated to the Portland Chapter JACL to help fund the programs the Chapter sponsors. Mariko Locke, local State Farm agent, is instrumental in securing these funds for our program in areas of civil rights preserving our cultural heritage and scholarships.

Mrs. Mark Sumida Awards
Alice Sumida has been a long time supporter of the Japanese American Community. She and her husband owned and operated a flower seed and bulb business and later raised koi. Mrs. Sumida’s life has been portrayed by award winning children’s author, Allen Say in Music for Alice. Mrs. Sumida is a ballroom dancer and has entered competitions throughout the United States and internationally as well.

Veleda Club
The Veleda Club is Portland’s oldest Nikkei women’s organization that is active in the Nikkei community today. The Veledas support community and cultural events. They promote the preservation of our Japanese American heritage and traditions.


2019 Graduation Banquet and Scholarship Recipients

By Chip Larouche

Portland and Gresham-Troutdale Chapters of JACL, along with nine other Japanese American organizations and churches, held the 72nd annual Japanese American Graduation Banquet on May 5, 2019 at the Monarch Hotel in Clackamas, Oregon.  Seventeen High School Seniors from the greater Portland area were honored, and all of them received awards and/or scholarships totaling over $19,000.  The emcee was Chip Larouche, PNWDC Governor of JACL.  Also, in attendance was Consul General of Japan in Portland, Takashi Teraoka, who congratulated the seniors and wished them well.  There were over 185 people attending the banquet to support our community youth as they start their collegiate career. 

The keynote speaker for the event was Dr. Wynn Kiyama, the Executive Director of Portland Taiko, who gave an inspiring speech that compared his journey from college to where he is today and related that to some of the ideas that he had heard from the graduates as he chatted with them before the luncheon. 

Pictured below is the Class of 2019 that was honored at the event:
Front Row (L to R) Luke Wilson, Emily Ogawa, Lauren Yanase, Alexandra Tomita, Cinclair Mathies, Mili Nakamura, Erica Pasquantonio, Leonard Tanne, Michael Hasegawa

Back Row (L to R) Kent Ishida, Ella Hirata, Alyson Miura, Isaaiah Baltzel, Sean Cunningham, Yukaiya Nomoto, Kaito Wilson, Miles Takiguchi

Click on image to open it in a new window.

2018 Graduation Banquet and Scholarship Recipients