To be eligible for participation, the student must be a resident of Arizona and be affiliated (or have family members affiliated) with at least one of the following organizations: JACL-AZ Chapter, Arizona Buddhist Temple, Light and Life Church.


High School

  • First Prize: $500
  • Second Prize: $300
  • Third Prize: $100

Elementary / Middle School

  • Grades 4-6: $100
  • Grades 7-8: $150

Essay Topics

Grades 4-8

Share a story about your family history or the heroes in your life! What have you learned about your heritage and/or the legacy of Japanese Americans? 

Grades 9-12

Please choose ONE of the following prompts to respond to:

  • What does it mean to be an American?
    Visit the Norman Mineta Legacy Project to learn about the life of the distinguished career of Mineta who became the first Asian American mayor of a major city (San Jose, CA), a U.S Congressman, and the first Asian American cabinet member, serving two Presidents, a Democrat and Republican. How does his story inspire you, encourage you to reflect on your JA heritage, and teach you about what it means to be an American?
  • How do you fight injustice?
    Visit the Korematsu Institute to learn about the life of Fred Korematsu, who challenged the constitutionality of Executive Order 9066. In what ways does Fred Korematsu’s story relate to ways that you fight for social justice? What does Korematsu’s story teach us about fighting injustice?


Submitted essays must include a clear descriptive title, be double-spaced, in 12-point font and include a bibliography. Essays for grades 4-8 should be 500-800 words; essays for grades 9-12 should be 1000-1200 words.

Applications are due by Febuary3, 2023 at 11:59PM.