2010 / Nisei Week / Queen candidates debuted at Nisei Week Opening Ceremony

Nisei Week Opening

At the Nisei Week Opening Ceremony, 2010 Queen candidates make their debut. (Cultural News Photo)

The Nisei Week Foundation officially kicked off its nine-day 70th Nisei Week Japanese Festival at its Opening Ceremony on Sunday, July 18 at the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo, Downtown Los Angeles.

One of the nation’s longest running ethnic festivals of its kind, the Nisei Week Japanese Festival will take place from August 14-22.

“It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to the Nisei Week Japanese Festival as we celebrate the 70th anniversary with exciting events and activities for all,” said Hayato Tamura, Nisei Week Foundation president.

“This year’s festival truly commemorates the past and cultural traditions that are Japanese and Japanese American and celebrates the future of our community through the contributions of the younger generation.”

The afternoon’s mistress of ceremonies was 2009 Nisei Week Queen Dana Heatherton and the 2009 Nisei Week court hosted the event for the dignitaries, sponsors, family, and friends of the Nisei Week Foundation.

Local dignitaries in attendance included Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich,  Los Angeles City Councilwoman Jan Perry and Consul General Junichi Ihara.

To sanctify and bring success to this year’s festival, Reverend Alfred Tsuyuki of Konko Church of Los Angeles conducted the annual purification ceremony.

The program commenced with the 2010 Nisei Week Choreographer Madame Fujima Kansuma and students who performed one of the official dances she choreographed for this year’s festival, “Arigato” by SMAP, a Japan’s pop song male group.

As the opening act, Lucky Charms, a Hawaiian musical duo, performed especially for the Nisei Week Opening Ceremony.

In addition, guests anxiously applauded the long-awaited debut of the official 2010 Nisei Week Court, who was announced to the community at the ceremony.

The 2010 Nisei Week queen candidates are following:


Nisei Week 2010 Nishiyama

Lani Kume Nishiyama

Candidate One

Lani Kume Nishiyama (West Los Angeles Japanese American Citizens League and Venice Japanese Community Center)

Lani Kume Nishiyama is 24 years old and received her bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in real estate finance from the University of Southern California. Nishiyama is currently pursuing an acting career and is a student of the Wayne Dvorak Acting Studio.  In her spare time, she enjoys running with her dog, cooking, doing ceramics, playing piano, doing improvisation, backpacking, singing, rollerblading, playing volleyball and tutoring. The platform Nishiyama has chosen to support this year is The Guide Dogs of America.

Nisei Week 2010 Yokomizo

Erin Reiko Yokomizo

Candidate Two

Erin Reiko Yokomizo (San Fernando Valley Japanese American Community Center and Coordinating Council)


Erin Reiko Yokomizo is 23 years old and a graduate of the University of Southern California where she received her bachelor’s degree in communication with a minor in art history.  Yokomizo is currently employed by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art where she works in the communication and marketing department.  She is an active member of the San Fernando Valley Holiness Church in Pacoima and enjoys mentoring and working with the church’s high school students.  She also enjoys snowboarding, visiting museums, and finding new places to eat in Los Angeles.  Her platform this year is Zoe International Ministries.

Nisei Week 2010 Weber

Lauren Terumi Weber

Candidate Three

Lauren Terumi Weber (Gardena Evening Optimist and The Loft Hawaiian Restaurant)

Lauren Terumi Weber is 24 years old and a graduate of San Diego State University with a degree in business administration/marketing.  She is currently working as a licensed real estate agent and works part time at the Loft Hawaiian Restaurant and at Array Systems, a computer IT company.  In her free time Weber creates and designs jewelry that she has turned into a small business, “LaurenLuvS.” She also enjoys surfing, hiking, taking photographs and video editing. The platform Weber has chosen to support this year is TWLOHA or “To Write Love On Her Arms.”

Nisei Week 2010 Hagiya

Jamie Joyce Hagiya

Candidate Four

Jamie Joyce Hagiya (Pasadena Japanese Cultural Institute)


Jamie Joyce Hagiya is 25 years old and graduated from the University of Southern California with a major in communication.  While at USC, Jamie played on the women’s basketball team and following graduation, played professionally in Greece.  Hagiya currently coaches and trains kids in basketball in Southern California and hopes to expand her camps along the West Coast, Hawaii and Japan in the future. In her free time she enjoys playing and watching sports, going  to the beach, watching movies, eating, traveling, listening to music, meeting new people and working with children.  This year Hagiya will be supporting Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution as her platform.

Nisei Week 2010 Sakamoto

Christy Kimiko Sakamoto

Candidate Five

Christy Kimiko Sakamoto (Orange County Nikkei Coordinating Council)

Christy Kimiko Sakamoto is 24 years old and graduated cum laude from the University of California, Los Angeles where she received her bachelor’s degree in history and a minor in women’s studies.  She also recently received her master’s degree in library and information studies with a concentration in Asian American studies from UCLA.  Sakamoto currently works at the Japanese American National Museum in education.  In her free time she serves on the board of the Japanese American Historical Society of Southern California and is a charter member of LTRoots. She enjoys playing basketball, playing pai gow poker, attending musicals, and fishing. Sakamoto has chosen to support the Los Angeles Conservation Corps as her platform this year.


Nisei Week 2010 Teragawa

Kelli Toshiye Teragawa

Candidate Six

Kelli Toshiye Teragawa (East San Gabriel Valley Japanese Community Center)

Kelli Toshiye Teragawa is 24 years old and a graduate of the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona with a major in business administration with an emphasis in management and human resources. Teragawa currently works at FIA Insurance Services, Inc.  When she is not busy working, she enjoys exploring different restaurants, experimenting with cake decorating, playing sports and traveling.  The platform Teragawa has chosen to support this year is Prevent Child Abuse America.

Nisei Week 2010 Nakamoto

Brynn Akemi Nakamoto

Candiadte Seven

Brynn Akemi Nakamoto (Japanese Restaurant Association of America)

Brynn Akemi Nakamoto is 21 years old and currently attends the University of Southern California where she is majoring in public relations.  Nakamoto is currently involved with USC’s Annenberg TV News and has an interest in broadcast journalism. During the summer she is busy organizing activities for the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Beyond the Bell Summer Program.  In her free time, she enjoys baking desserts, rollerblading with her dogs, doing yoga and pilates, pottery throwing, swimming, playing tennis and writing poems.  The platform Nakamoto has decided to support this year is the Free Arts For Abused Children.

Nisei Week 2010 Queen Candidate

Nisei Week 2010 Queen Candidates: Left to right; Standing: Brynn Nakamoto, Lani Nishiyama, and Kelli Teragawa;  Sitting: Lauren Weber, Reiko Yokomizo, Jamie Hagiya, and Christy Sakamoto. (Cultural News Photo)

The 2010 Nisei Week Japanese Festival, a nine-day event first held in 1934 and is today one of the longest running ethnic festivals in the United States, will take place in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo district from August 14-22.

For a calendar of events and volunteer information, log on to www.NiseiWeek.org or call the Nisei Week Foundation office at (213) 687-7193. The Nisei Week office is located at 244 South San Pedro Street, Suite 303, Los Angeles, CA 90012.

The Nisei Week Foundation was established in 1999 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization to oversee and organize the Nisei Week Japanese Festival. The Foundation’s mission is to promote Japanese and Japanese American heritage and traditions while bringing together the diverse communities of Southern California through arts and cultural education.