The Venice Japanese American Memorial Monument (VJAMM) Committee and the Manzanar Committee announce the Third Annual Arnold Maeda Manzanar Pilgrimage Grant for 2023.  

Maeda, who passed on September 10, 2020, at the age of 94, inspired the Venice Japanese American Memorial Monument Committee on which he served as a charter member.  Arnold proved to be a willing and articulate public speaker, and invaluable fundraiser.  The VJAMM Committee dedicated the VJAMM on April 27, 2017, on the northwest corner of Venice and Lincoln Boulevards, in Venice, California.  This marks the spot where some 1,000 persons of Japanese ancestry 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 fifteen-year old, that was unforgettably traumatic.”

Despite the trauma of being forcibly uprooted from Santa Monica, and his family’s losing their home and nursery business, Arnold distinguished himself at Manzanar.  He participated in music and drama productions, lifted weights, worked as a kitchen helper and a hospital orderly, and became President of his Senior class of 1944 at Manzanar High School.  After World War II ended, Arnold began to volunteer with the Manzanar Reunion Committee, the Santa Monica Nikkei Hall, and in 2010, 

with the Venice Japanese American Memorial Monument Committee.  Grant applicants will get to know Arnold Maeda by finding his many interviews and articles online, and will describe his life and legacy in an essay, short story, or poem.  

Applicants will 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 have affected the applicant’s life; how and why working with the Manzanar Committee on the 2023 Manzanar Pilgrimage will help the applicant better understand Maeda’s life and legacy.  

Each recipient of the 2023 Arnold Maeda Manzanar Pilgrimage Grant will receive a stipend of $500 for their attendance at planning meetings, and for their participation in the Manzanar Pilgrimage weekend of April 28 – 30, 2023.    Deadline for application submissions: January 6, 2023. All applicants will be notified of the judging results by the end of January, 2023.         

To read the winning essays of previous Arnold Maeda Manzanar Pilgrimage Grant recipients, Leslie Aguilar (2021), Charlene Tonai Din and Terumi Tanisha Garcia (2022), please visit 

the VJAMM website at for their links.  To download the 2023 Information Packet and Application Form, please visit or  Questions may be sent to:

Submitted by Phyllis Hayashibara