2023 Awardees

2023 Awardees

Japanese Language Scholarship
Margaret O’Connell
Evanston Township High School (Evanston, IL)
Teacher and Exchange Coordinator, Japanese

I am so honored to have been selected for the JLSF Scholarship!
I would like to thank two of my mentor teachers, Michael Van Krey and Satsutani Shingo,for supporting me throughout this process. As a non-native teacher of Japanese, I am always striving to incorporate more authentic materials and engaging content into my curriculum. Through the generous support of the Aurora Foundation,
I will travel to Japan in the summer to research the history and lived experiences of the Ainu in Hokkaido,Zainichi Koreans in Tokyo,and the Ryukyu/Luchu in Okinawa. Traveling will allow me not only the necessary language refresher to sustain my own proficiency but will also give me the opportunity to take pictures and videos, collect authentic sources for reading materials or assessments, and bring home a wealth of knowledge to share with my students.

All-USA High School Japanese Speech Contest Winner 
Zhuoru Zhou
Southridge High School (Beaverton, OR), 12th Grade

「Life Value that books brought to me」
My speech is about how books have changed my personal view of the world. Beginning in my childhood,
my mother brought me many children's books that have a very positive life view: the good guys will win over the bad. But after immigrating to the U.S., I felt uneasy about the difference between myself and the other peers at school. In this sensitive period, I read Human Lost by Osamu Dazai.
This book changed my thought from everything that should be perfect to forgiving people to have differences. Everyone is an ordinary person who has their own weakness and imperfection, it became one of my own key life values.

Aurora's 25th Anniversary Special International Award
Lion Kikin Foundation Volunteer Award: High School Students Awardees
Kurashiki Kojoike High School Students Group

We are members of "Wasshoi TOKAZ."
We volunteered at a children's cafeteria as a start. We started educational activities for reducing food loss to solve "food waste" and "child poverty" problems in our city. We raise items in our school, cook meals for the children's cafeteria, and do cooking lessons at the community center. Also, we teach about "reducing food waste" for elementary school students. Last summer, we participated in the national competition for the "High School Student Volunteer Awards 2023," which was sponsored by "Kaze ni tatsu Lion-Kikin," and we gave a presentation under the theme of "Aiming to reduce food waste ~ for bright future filled with happiness." As a result, we received the "Aurora Japanese Scholarship Foundation 25th Anniversary Award." We really appreciated to receive this award. We believe that is because we have been enthusiastic toward this project together. We hope it will inspire people in other countries, beginning from the US.

Intenational Amabasssaddor Award
25th Aurora Foundation Anniversary Speccial Year
Hiroshi & Taeko Sumiyama




Intenational Amabasssaddor Award
25th Aurora Foundation Anniversary Speccial Year
Grace Shiba

I have had the honor of being a part of many Aurora Foundation and Japanese Language Scholarship Foundation programs and witnessed first-hand the wonderful work they do to promote goodwill between the U.S. and Japan. Meeting the winners of your scholarships and contests and to hear how much they appreciate the opportunities awarded to them have been inspiring.
I would like to thank the Founder and President, Dr. Akiko Agishi as she has been the pillar of the Foundation. Her passion and commitment to foster their mission are admirable and has made a difference to the lives of many.
Additionally, congratulations to Mr. Masashi Sada, for celebrating his 50th anniversary in entertainment. We are honored to welcome you back to Los Angeles. Your performances over the years have been unrivaled.
As we celebrate the 25th Anniversary, this is a great opportunity for us to recollect the memories we shared and to cherish them again.
Continued success to the Aurora Foundation!


January 20, 2024   JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles