Bottom row, from left: Joyce Chinn (donor), Haru Takehana, Hisako Betty Imamura (donor), Consul General Akira Muto, Kitty Sankey (past and future donor), Tomoshige Mizutani (Nitto Tire president, past and future donor), Kyoko Mizutani (wife of T. Mizuatani).
Middle row (from left): Happy Mizutani (past and future donor), Jeff Yamazaki, Zoe Baral (Mrs. Imamura’s granddaughter), Thornton Dickerson, Ellen Endo, Mark Oune.
Top row: Kyle Okazaki (2016 recipient and JATCSF board trustee), Amy Yamazaki (2018 recipient), Jonathan Shiba (2019 recipient), Gillian Ozawa (2018 recipient and JATCSF board trustee), Sean Yamaguchi (2021 recipient), Natalie Osako (2022 recipient), Kenji Horigome (2022 recipient), Brandon Takahashi (2022 recipient), Akio Pinedo (2022 recipient), Malina Au (2022 recipient), Alexander Khan (2022 recipient), Justin Kawaguchi (2017 recipient). (Photo by Alan Miyatake)

MONTEBELLO — A scholarship program that commemorates the arrival of the first official Japanese delegation to the U.S. has announced six recent high school graduates as 2022 recipients, bringing to $945,000 the total awarded to outstanding high school graduates.

This year’s recipients of the Japanese American Treaty Centennial Scholarship awards were introduced at a luncheon held July 30 at the Montebello Country Club by past scholarship awardees Jonathan Shiba and Sean Yamaguchi. 

“We hope with the help of these scholarships we can continue to pursue our interests, develop as leaders, so that eventually we can give back to the Japanese American community that has given us so much,” stated Brandon Hikaru Takahashi, who was chosen to speak on behalf of the 2022 scholarship recipients.

In addition to Takahashi, who graduated from Polytechnic High School and will be attending Northwestern University majoring in environmental sciences, this year’s scholars are:

Malina Au of Redondo Union High School, who is enrolled at Fordham University, where she will focus on business marketing.

Kenji Horigome, Downtown Magnet School graduate, who will next attend Harvey Mudd College, majoring in mathematics and physics.

Alexander Kawaguchi Kahn of South Pasadena High School, who will be attending the University of Toronto, where he will study political science and public policy.

Natalie Osako, recent graduate of Arnold O. Beckman High School, who will be attending Wellesley College, majoring in American studies.

Akio Minoru Pinedo of St. Francis High School, who is enrolled at the University of Dallas, where he plans to major in psychology.

Consul General of Japan Akira Muto congratulated the scholars for their hard work and commitment. He also revealed that he will be leaving Los Angeles for his next diplomatic assignment at the end of August. 

Keynote speaker Patricia Wyatt, president and CEO of the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center, provided an overview of Little Tokyo’s varied and colorful history while also commending the young scholars for being able to achieve academic and extracurricular success despite the challenges brought on by the pandemic the past two years.

Emcees Kyle Okazaki (2016) and Gillian Ozawa (2018) recognized donors Nitto Tires, Aratani Foundation, Mrs. Joyce Chinn, Happy Mizutani, Aratani Foundation, Koichi and Toyo Nerio Memorial Fund, Mr. and Mrs. Teruo Yoshimoto, Kenji Ito Memorial Scholarship Fund, and Kitty Sankey.

The scholarship fund was established in 1960 by the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Southern California and has awarded 1,818 scholarships to date.

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