Applications are now available for the Nisei Week Pioneer Spirit Award.

The award honors individuals who exemplify the Nisei Week mission, which is to promote Japanese and Japanese American heritage and traditions while bringing together the diverse communities of Southern California through arts and cultural education. 

Organizations are encouraged and invited to nominate candidates for the Pioneer Spirit. Candidates must have demonstrated a history of helping advance the Japanese American community, support and participate in various organizations, as well as demonstrate leadership skills. Age is not a criterion for selection.

“The Nisei Week Pioneer Spirit Award is a vital and important part of the Nisei Week Festival …  It is an opportunity to recognize and honor individuals that have been active in the Japanese and Japanese community through their participation and support as well as their leadership,” said Nolan Maehara, Nisei Week Pioneer Spirit chair.

The Nisei Week Board will have a committee of readers to select the final five awardees that will best represent the annual Nisei Week Festival. Organizations and their candidate will be notified via email.

Nominee applicants must submit a biography written in English between 500 and 650 words. There must be full sentences and paragraphs only and no resumes or bullet points. The nomination procedure and forms can be found online at

Application deadline is Friday, April 29. For more information, contact Maehara or Joyce Chinn at

As it celebrates the 80th anniversary of the Nisei Week Festival, the Nisei Week Foundation is reaching out to the Southern California community to help locate and identify the people who have not been recognized for their contributions.

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