PRESS RELEASE: July 22, 2014 – Vol. 9, No. 21

July 2014 JAVA Quarterly Lunch

JAVA Announced Nine Scholarship Winners, Irene Hirano Inouye Congratulated the Winners, and JAVA Makes $20K Donation to US Army Museum.

Falls Church, Virginia. The Japanese American Veterans Association (JAVA) Quarterly Lunch on July 12, 2014, held at the Harvest Moon Restaurant at Falls Church, Virginia, which was attended by Ms. Irene Hirano Inouye, President of the US-Japan Council, and Brigadier General Creighton Abrams, Jr., US Army (Ret), Executive Director of the Army Historical Foundation, featured the annual Scholarship awards ceremony, the presentation of Service Pin for exceptional service to Dr. Sue Okubo, and remarks by the honored guests and JAVA President Gerald Yamada. Okubo was honored for her roles in the Scholarship Committee and the Oral History Project.

Wade Ishimoto, Chair of the Scholarship Committee, announced the names of the scholarships and the winners as follows:

  • US Senator Daniel K. Inouye Scholarship: Matthew Mah, San Francisco, CA. California – School of Podiatric Medicine
  • JAVA Founder’s Scholarship (Phil and Douglas Ishio): Kellie Iwasaki. Hilo, HI. – University of Hawaii, Manoa
  • Ranger Grant Hirabayashi Scholarship: Liesl Jaeger, Broadlands, VA. – Brown University
  • Joseph Ichiuji Scholarship: Reyna Fa-Kaji, Berkeley, CA. – Tulane University
  • Mitsugi Kasai Scholarship: Hayley Watanabe, Fountain Valley, CA. – Biola University
  • Teru and Victor Matsui Scholarship: Melissa Ikeda, Vienna, VA. – UCLA
  • Betty Shima Scholarship: Rebecca Grace, Captain Cook, HI. – University of Wyoming
  • Orville Shirey Scholarship: William Nakamoto, Burns, TN. – Tennessee Tech University
  • Kiyoko Taubkin Scholarship: Rose Yasukochi, Seattle, WA. – Occidental College.
Matthew Mah - San Francisco, CA

Matthew Mah
San Francisco, CA

Kelli Iwasaki - Hilo, HI

Kelli Iwasaki
Hilo, HI

Liesl Jaegar - Broadlands, VA

Liesl Jaegar
Broadlands, VA

Reyna Fa-Kaji - Berkeley, CA

Reyna Fa-Kaji
Berkeley, CA

Hayley Watanabe - Fountain Valley, CA

Hayley Watanabe
Fountain Valley, CA

Melissa Ikeda - Vienna, VA

Melissa Ikeda
Vienna, VA

Rebecca Grace - Captain Cook, HI

Rebecca Grace
Captain Cook, HI

William Nakamoto - Burns, TN

William Nakamoto
Burns, TN

Rose Yasukochi - Seattle, WA

Rose Yasukochi
Seattle, WA

Ishimoto narrated a slide show prepared by Lieutenant Colonel Michael Yaguchi, US Air Force (Ret), featuring the nine winners along with a short excerpt from their respective essays.

Wade Ishimoto and BG Creighton Abrams, USA Ret.  Photo by Bruce Hollywood.

Wade Ishimoto and BG Creighton Abrams, USA Ret. Photo by Bruce Hollywood.

Yamada congratulated the scholarship winners and thanked the scholarship sponsors and scholarship committee. He introduced new members of the JAVA Executive Committee as Captain (Dr.) Cynthia Macri, US Navy (Ret), Lieutenant Colonel Brett Egusa, USAR, and Lieutenant Colonel Rodney Azama, USA (Ret); Bill Houston, Esq., as Acting General Counsel; Mr. Tom Phan and Dr. Jill Czarnecki as co-editors of the quarterly Advocate; and Mr. Terry Shima as Chair of the Awards Committee. Yamada said the US Army is building a new national museum to preserve the 500 year history of the Army but needs help with raising funds. In appreciation of the Army’s recognition of the loyalty of Japanese American soldiers during World War II, Yamada presented a JAVA check in the amount of $20,000 to General Abrams, for the museum building fund. “This donation is given by JAVA in honor of the Nisei Soldiers who served during World War II in the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and Military Intelligence Service. Last year, JAVA donated $5,000 for the same purpose. These two donations are expected to have JAVA, the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team (RCT), and Military Intelligence Service (MIS) placed on the Museum’s donor wall when it is completed,” Yamada said.

Yamada invited the 100th, 442nd and MIS members and families to donate artifacts which will be displayed in the Museum’s permanent exhibit. “Display space at the Museum will be very competitive. This is a short window of opportunity to secure a permanent exhibit for the Nisei soldiers,” Yamada said. A helmet or helmet liner with the Red Bull painted on its side is reportedly an item in high demand. Donors are asked to please contact Yamada directly by email or phone (; 703-938-3074).

Dr. Ray Murakami, Irene Hirano Inouye, and Gerald Yamada. Photo by Bruce Hollywood.

Dr. Ray Murakami, Irene Hirano Inouye, and Gerald Yamada. Photo by Bruce Hollywood.

Yamada commended Dr. Ray Murakami, immediate past chair of the Scholarship Committee, for establishing the Senator Daniel Inouye Memorial Scholarship and thanked Ms. Irene Hirano Inouye for her efforts in launching this award. Yamada noted that Ms. Inouye was the first President and Executive Director of the Japanese American National Museum. She nurtured the Museum from a mere idea to the building of the modern structure that is the centerpiece of Little Tokyo in Los Angeles. She is currently the President of the US-Japan Council, which is focused on strengthening relationships between the United States and Japan and with which JAVA is a partner. Senator Inouye was Honorary Chair of JAVA since its inception in 1993. Ms. Inouye, in her response, congratulated the scholarship winners and thanked all JAVA members and families across America for this recognition and discussed the challenges and potential rewards that lie ahead in US-Japan relations. She then mingled freely with JAVA members and guests much to their delight.


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