2024 Oshogatsu / LA Kimono Club’s New Year contest draws more excitement ever in Little Tokyo

Winners of the annual Kimono Contest 2024 by LA Kimono Club. Akane Mashimo, right end, awarded prices to winners. Photo provided by LA Kimono Club.

On January 1st, 2024 at Weller Court in Little Tokyo, LA Kimono Club had an annual Kimono Contest as part of “Oshogatsu in Little Tokyo.” This year’s event attracted 12 contestants and 6 sponsors.

LA Kimono Club started advertising campaign for the Kimono Contest in October 2023 and it filled up quickly unlike past years. Contestants were Caucasians, Latinos, African Americans, Chinese, and of course Japanese.

Half of the contestants dressed themselves in Kimono. Each contestant showcased their kimono while walking and posing on stage, and they had self-introduction speeches to convince the audience how much they love Japanese kimono culture.

The First prize winner was Goaty Boone of Simi Vallery, 17 years old, and she received $200 cash from the club, a beautiful Nishijin Obi fabric purse plus a table runner set from sponsor Gekka, Fukuro Obi and accessories set from Kimonoyala, and a bouquet from Little Tokyo florist.

Goaty tried her first Kimono contest last year but didn’t win at that time. Even so, she and her mother Jennifer have been participating in club events and are fully supportive of the club.

They ordered a new Furisode through Mita Kimono. She practiced a lot for this contest and was so ready to win this time. Now Goaty is excited to ride on a convertible for the Nisei Week parade this summer.

The second prize winner was Ellie Liou. She received the Nishijin Obi clutch purse from Gekka. She signed up for the contest at the very last minute. She just came back from her Japan trip and was very interested in the event. Now she’s very excited to participate in  Kimono Club’s activities in future.

The third prize winner was Natalie Monterrubio and the Special mention was Eve-Lyn Mendoza. They received Oboro towels from Mie, Japan. They both have been club members since last year, and they have many kimonos of their own. Eve-Lyn actually dressed herself in Furisode and she even dressed her sister Emberlyn.

LA Kimono Club never had the experience of these numbers of sponsorship before.

All contestants received portrait photos from WakaWakka Kimono & Photo Studio, Tabi from Mita Kimono, and Kimono pattern shoelaces called “HimoColor” from Cocoluck Corporation. All contestants also received one year club membership.

Akane Mashimo who is the president of the club, and a certified Kimono dresser and instructor from Kyoto Kimono Gakuin Kyoto Honko, is hosting monthly Kimono dressing workshops for the members who are still learning self-dressing.

As a first club activity of Year 2024, LA Kimono Club will have a New Year’s luncheon at Descanso Garden in February. There will be a few Kimono shows booked this spring.