Japan Scholarships and Funding

Ayako Betty Murakami Scholarship for Japan Studies

About Ayako Betty Murakami

Ayako Betty Murakami’s family owned the Higo Variety Store, a store originally opened as Higo by her father in 1909. The store on S. Jackson St. was run by the Murakami family continuously – except during the period of Japanese American internment – before closing in the early 2000’s (now the site of Kobo at Higo). They sold everything from fine china to toothpaste to Japanese prints. During WWII Ayako was sent with her family to the internment camp in Minidoka, Idaho and she taught English courses to fourth-graders while there. Traveling was one of Ayako’s greatest loves in life, twice circumnavigating the globe and being one of the first Americans to visit Russia and China when it was re-opened to the West in the post-WWII era. Ms. Murakami passed away on September 3, 1999 at the age of 86.