Queen pageant excites Japanese American community for decades

2010 Nisei Week Queen Candiates

2010 Nisei Week Queen candidates are, in front row from left: Lauren Terumi Weber, Erin Reiko Yokomizo, Jamie Joyce Hagita, Christy Kimoko Sakamoto; in back row from left: Brynn Akemi Nakamoto, Lani Kume Nishiyama, and Kelli Toshiye Teragawa. (Cultural News Photo)

Cultural News, 2010 August Issue

The 2010 Nisei Week Japanese Festival queen candidates took center stage for their first official coming-out appearance to various community leaders, local dignitaries, family and friends at the Opening Ceremony event held on July 18 at the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo, Downtown Los Angeles.

The seven candidates will compete for the title of Nisei Week Queen on Saturday, August 14, at the Aratani Japan America Theatre in Little Tokyo.

Upon official coronation, the queen and her court will represent the Nisei Week Foundation at this year’s festival and other community events locally and nationally (including Nagoya, Japan) throughout the year.

Nisei Week Queen Coronation tickets are available at the Golden Circle level (includes special dinner at the Kyoto Grand Hotel at 5:30 p.m. prior to the coronation with preferred orchestra seating) at $160 per person; orchestra seats are $75 per person; or balcony seats are $65 per person.

The 2010 Nisei Week queen candidates are:

Jamie Joyce Hagiya (Pasadena Japanese Cultural Institute) 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.

Brynn Akemi Nakamoto (Japanese Restaurant Association of America) 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.

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

Christy Kimiko Sakamoto (Orange County Nikkei Coordinating Council) 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.

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

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

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

For Queen Coronation Ball tickets, contact Jerry Fukui at (213) 626-0441 or iburryu@aol.com; or Mike Hirahara at 310-617-2632 or engrav4@aol.com.

1934 The First Year of Nisei Week

The Queen Pageant originated in the beauty contest (above photo) in the first Nisei Week, August 12 through 18 in 1934. The Nisei Week Queen was created in 1935. (Photo courtesy of the Nisei Week Foundation)