Cultural News, 2010 September Issue
Lani Kume Nishiyama, acting school student and representing the West Los Angeles Japanese American Citizens League and the Venice Japanese Community Center, was selected as the 70th Nisei Week Queen on Aug. 14 at the Nisei Week Coronation held at the Aratani/Japan America Theatre in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles Downtown.
The 2010 Nisei Week Court members, who also participated in the coronation, are: First Princess Kelli Toshie Teragawa, Miss Tomodachi Jamie Joyce Hagiya, Princess Brynn Akemi Nakamoto, Princess Christy Kimiko Sakamoto, Princess Lauren Terumi Weber and Princess Erin Reiko Yokomizo.
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.
“I am so proud and honored to be a part of this Nisei Week tradition and I never imagined to be surrounded by such talented and intelligent ladies,” said Nishiyama.
“I joined Nisei Week with hope to bring people from outside of the Japanese American community to understand our culture and rich history.”
Nishiyama’s speech touched upon her growing up and having to adapt to different environments and being “different” than her peers.
She believed through food she made friendships and was able to share her culture with others. Food is a part of her family, as her grandfather is Robert Taira, founder of King’s Hawaiian Bakery and Restaurant.
Nishiyama was born in Hawaii, but grew up in Torrance. She is currently pursuing an acting career and is a student of the Wayne Dvorak Acting Studio.
The coronation ceremony was an evening of laughs and entertainment, with co-hosts actress Tamilyn Tomita and ABC Eyewitness News Anchor David Ono.
Highlights included taiko drum performances by Johnny Mori and Danny Yamamoto and a Japanese folk music group Minyo Station.
The 2010 Nisei Week Japanese Festival was held from Aug 14-22 in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles Downtown. The first Nisei Week festival was held in 1934. The festival is today one of the longest running ethnic festivals in the U.S.
Nisei Week Coronation is the highlight of the festival where queen candidates representing local Japanese American communities would be selected the queen.