Then-State Sen. Ted Lieu (center) recognized the Venice Japanese American Memorial Monument Committee, including Arnold Maeda (right), in 2014.

On Nov. 2, the Manzanar Committee and the Venice Japanese American Memorial Monument (VJAMM) Committee announced that the first annual Arnold Maeda Manzanar Pilgrimage Grant is now available.

Two college students will be selected to work with the Manzanar Committee to help plan and produce the 52nd annual Manzanar Pilgrimage, to be held on April 24, 2021, by researching materials, contacting speakers and presenters, assisting in video recordings, attending Manzanar Committee planning meetings, and performing other duties, as needed. Recipients would work a total of 30 hours each and would each be paid a $500 stipend.

Maeda, who passed on Sept. 10 at the age of 94, inspired the Venice Japanese American Memorial Monument Committee, in which he participated as a charter member, and proved to be an invaluable speaker and fundraiser.

The VJAMM Committee dedicated the monument on April 27, 2017, on the northwest corner of Venice and Lincoln boulevards, where some 1,000 persons of Japanese ancestry were forcibly removed from Venice, Santa Monica, and Malibu, lined up with only what they could carry, for their day-long bus ride to the American concentration camp at Manzanar. Maeda remembered that day in his quote engraved on the monument:

“Instead of being worried about where we were going, I was obsessed with the fact that I had parted with my constant companion, my pet dog, Boy. For a 15-year old, that was unforgettably traumatic.”

Applicants will have opportunities to get to know Maeda and his legacy through his many online interviews and articles, and will write a short essay, short story, or poem as part of their application. Written work must address three or more areas of reflection:

• Who Maeda was and how he became a role model for the Japanese American community;

• How Maeda’s legacy has influenced the applicant;

• How the applicant will apply the lessons learned from Maeda to his/her life today;

• How Maeda’s life in the American concentration camp at Manzanar compares/contrasts with the student’s life today;

• How collaboration and service to others has affected the applicant’s life;

• How and why working with the Manzanar Committee on the 2021 Manzanar Pilgrimage will help the applicant better understand Maeda’s life and legacy; or

• What about Maeda has inspired the applicant to participate in the Manzanar Pilgrimage.

Norman Toyoshige Maeda, Sasami Takeda Maeda, Arnold Tadao Maeda, and Boy in 1942. When Japanese Americans were forced from their homes and into camps that year, they were not permitted to bring pets.

Applications are due no later than Friday, Dec. 4, and winners will be announced by the end of December. For more information and applications, visit the Manzanar Committee website at or the VJAMM website at   Questions can be sent to

Download grant information and application here:

Bodybuilders at Manzanar, including Arnold Maeda (front row, left).

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