2017 Scholarship for Students of Japanese Culture

JPASC Scholarship

Photo courtesy of Michelle Akamine, a past recipient of the scholarship

The Okinawa Association of America (OAA) is currently seeking applicants for the Japanese Prefectural Association of Southern California (JPASC / Nanka Kenjinkai Kyogikai) scholarship award for exceptional students of Japanese culture. We can recommend up to two (2) OAA members (final selection will be done by the JPASC).


Application Requirements:

  • Current member of the OAA with no outstanding dues
    • If the applicant is a dependent, then their parent/guardian must be a current OAA member
    • If the applicant or parent/guardian is a member of another kenjinkai, you may apply through them
  • Between 17 – 27 years of age
  • Dedicated practitioner of a Japanese cultural tradition (e.g. arts, martial arts*, language)
    • * For martial arts, the applicant must have a minimum of ni-dan or equivalent

The applicant will need a recommendation letter from his/her instructor and the OAA, school transcripts, and passport photos.

Please contact the OAA for the application:
310-532-1929, oaamensore@gmail.com


OAA Annual Scholarship for Graduating High School Students (Deadline: May 31)


DEADLINE: May 31, 2017

• Must be fully or partially of Okinawan descent
• Parents (guardians) or applicant must be OAA member(s)
• Minimum GPA of 3.0
• Must be graduating high school in 2017

The awards will be based primarily on academic accomplishments with due consideration given to extracurricular, community activities, and financial needs. The scholarship awards will be presented at the OAA’s Annual Members’ Picnic at Whittier Narrows Recreation Park on Sunday, July 16, 2017 (date subject to change).

Download the OAA HS scholarship application checklist (PDF) and 2017 OAA Scholarship App (PDF) / 2017 OAA Scholarship App (WORD) today! Please contact the OAA for more information at oaamensore@gmail.com or 310-532-1929.

Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival 2017: Okinawan Spotlight

written by Joseph Yoshimasu Kamiya

(Note: this is not an OAA-sponsored event)

It’s that time of year once again — the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) is right around the corner (April 27th through May 11th) with tons of new films and videos produced by and for the Asian and Pacific Islander communities.

As an aspiring filmmaker myself, I believe that representation in the media is important. We need to see more Asians and Pacific Islanders on screen and behind the scenes, which is why we need organizations like Visual Communications (VC) and events like the LAAPFF.

As a fourth generation Uchinaanchu (Okinawan), I always keep an eye out for any and all things Okinawan. That being said, I’d like to spotlight a few films from this year’s festival that were directed by, starring, or curated by Okinawans and Okinawan Nikkei.

(Please note that this not, by any means, an “official” or “comprehensive” list. These are merely recommendations based on my opinions and research.)

Born Bone Boon

Gori / Japan / 2016 / 20 mins

Hitoshi has returned to his hometown of Agunishima, Okinawa to introduce his wife, Yuko, to the family. But Yuko is furious when she’s told the reason for the trip home. The true purpose was for the “senkotsu” ceremony—Agunishima’s continuing custom of cleansing the bones of the dead. This is a heartwarming comedy of a disconnected family discovering their true selves through the ceremony of cleansing bones.

Plays In: Good Bones (Short Films Program)
CGV Cinemas 2
May 2, 2017 9:30 pm
Buy Tickets

AUTHOR’S COMMENT: This project was filmed in Okinawa and directed by Okinawan filmmaker and comedian Toshiyuki Teruya. Also known as “Gori,” he is a member of the popular comedy duo Garage Sale and has appeared in a number of Japanese movies and dramas.

Itsy Bitsy Shorts (Free Program)

Running time: 30 minutes, activities to follow

After a brief hiatus, the “Itsy Bitsy Shorts” program is back! This morning program will showcase films for the littlest film lovers. Kids will also explore movie magic through interactive activities, including an appearance by the Echo Park Film Center’s Filmmobile, a school bus transformed into a mobile media classroom.

[Interactive activities include the Echo Park Film Center’s Filmmobile, a film petting zoo, activity stations, and an animation workshop]

Tateuchi Democracy Forum
April 29, 2017 10:00 am
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AUTHOR’S COMMENT: This program was curated by Okinawan American filmmaker and educator, Gena Hamamoto. Ms. Hamamoto has worked with the OAA in the past, screening her short documentary “Typhoon of Steel” at one of our Battle of Okinawa memorial events as well as being a guest speaker at the 2013 Worldwide Youth Uchinaanchu Festival.

Mele Murals

Tadashi Nakamura / Documentary Competition / USA / 2016 / 65 mins

MELE MURALS is a documentary on the transformative power of modern graffiti art and ancient Hawaiian culture for a new generation of Native Hawaiians. At the center of the story are two renowned street artists – Estria Miyashiro (aka Estria) and John Hina (aka Prime) – a group of Native Hawaiian youth, and the rural community of Waimea.

Tateuchi Democracy Forum
April 30, 2017 5:00 pm
Buy Tickets
ENCORE: May 7, 2017 1:00 pm

AUTHOR’S COMMENT: One of the stars of this documentary, Estria Miyashiro, is of Okinawan, Japanese, and Hawaiian descent. His artwork and beliefs are based on the fundamentals of Hawaiian (and Okinawan) spirituality (e.g., reverence for our ancestors and nature). He is truly an inspirational figure and an amazing artist! He is scheduled to be present at the April 30th screening for a Q&A.

Occasionally, I Saw Glimpses of Hawai‘i

Christopher Makoto Yogi / Shorts Competition / USA / 2016 / 15 mins

A film essay looking at 100 years of Hawai‘i in film, explores issues of representation and gender. This filmic deconstruction is a lively, often infuriating examination of Hollywood’s portrayal of the islands, highlighting the essential necessity of homegrown filmmaking.

Plays In: The Sum of My Memory (Short Films Program)
CGV Cinemas 3
April 30, 2017 1:45 pm
Buy Tickets

AUTHOR’S COMMENT: The director of this short film, Christopher Makoto Yogi, is half-Okinawan. Two of his original works, “Obake” (a beautifully haunting short film) and “I Was a Simple Man” (a feature film in progress), focus on a Nikkei man in Hawaii who, near the end of his life, is visited by the ghosts of the past.

OAA Okinawa Cultural Festival – Instagram Contest


All our volunteers worked very hard to create the maasan (delicious) food at the bazaar. Show them some love and share your favorites on Instagram!

  1. Follow @oaamensore on Instagram
  2. During the festival on Sunday, September 25,2016, post a food selfie (a photo of yourself and a tasty Okinawan dish) to Instagram using the hashtag #OkinawaFestLA

All entries must be posted by 3:00pm onSunday, September 25,2016. Any picture posted after 3:00pm will no be eligible for the contest. Submissions will be judged by quality and who looks like they’re enjoying it the most. The winner will receive a $50 cash prize! Winners will be announced on Instagram.

Per Instagram rules, we must mention this is in no way sponsored, administered, or associated with Instagram, Inc. By entering, entrants confirm they release Instagram of responsibility, and agree to Instagram’s term of use.

OAA Okinawa Cultural Festival
Sunday, September 25th
11:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Okinawa Association of America Center
16500 South Western Avenue
Gardena, CA 90247

OAA Okinawa Cultural Festival – Activities and Shopping



  • Raffle – $300 grand prize! raffle-ticket-form (PDF)
  • Children’s games, arts & crafts, puppet making
  • Merchandise from Okinawa
  • T-Shirts, Tote Bags, Mugs – original designs
  • Fresh Plants and produce
  • Rummage sale
  • Bake Sale

OAA Okinawa Cultural Festival
Sunday, September 25th
11:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Okinawa Association of America Center
16500 South Western Avenue
Gardena, CA 90247

OAA Okinawa Cultural Festival – Entertainment


Listed alphabetically, not by performance time

OAA Okinawa Cultural Festival
Sunday, September 25th
11:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Okinawa Association of America Center
16500 South Western Avenue
Gardena, CA 90247

OAA Okinawa Cultural Festival – Food


  • Andagi – Okinawan donuts
  • Ashitibichi* – Pig’s feet soup
  • Beniimo Ice Cream* – Okinawa purple sweet potato
  • Fu Chanpuru* – Okinawan stir fry with egg flatbread
  • Nantu – Okinawan mochi
  • Okinawa Manju – Sweet mochi cake
  • Okinawan Soba – similar to Udon/Ramen
  • Rafute Donburi* – Slow cooked pork belly
  • Snow Cones
  • Spam Musubi
  • Teriyaki Chicken & Beef Bento
  • Taco Rice* – Ground beef on rice, toppings

*Food items in limited supply

OAA Okinawa Cultural Festival
Sunday, September 25th
11:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Okinawa Association of America Center
16500 South Western Avenue
Gardena, CA 90247