SJA started as Save Japanese in Arlington in May 2018, after the Arlington Public School System announced its intention to end the Japanese language program. SJA launched on a student-led grassroots campaign, organizing a petition, and making an appeal at the school board meeting. The Japanese program was reinstated at all high schools in the county this school year. About 50 students are taking Japanese at three high schools.

To continue our grassroots promotion of Japanese language and culture in Arlington, SJA, now with a new name, Study Japanese in Arlington, became a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization in September 2018.