6/01: Winning stories of Imagine Little Tokyo short story contest to be presented by three notable actors

Three notable actors, including Japan Academy Film Prize winner Ayumi Ito, will present winning stories at the upcoming celebration of the 11th annual Imagine Little Tokyo short story contest.

The hybrid event will be held on Saturday, June 1, at 2 pm at the Tateuchi Democracy Forum at the Japanese American National Museum’s Democracy Center, 100 N. Central Ave., Los Angeles.

The 11th annual Imagine Little Tokyo short story contest is presented by the Little Tokyo Historical Society (LTHS) in partnership with the Japanese American National Museum’s Discover Nikkei project. In the contest, there are three categories of English language, Japanese language, and English language youth (18 and younger).

The purpose of the contest is to raise awareness of Little Tokyo through a creative story that takes place in Little Tokyo. The story has to be fictional and set in a current, past or future Little Tokyo in the City of Los Angeles, California.

This year submissions were received from far flung locations such as the United Kingdom, Finland and multiple locations on the eastern seaboard of the US.

Winners and honorable mention awardees will be publicly revealed at the June 1 celebrations. The actors will provide dramatic readings of the winning stories in the categories of English Adult, Japanese and English Youth.

To register, please go here to the events calendar on www.janm.org  (https://www.janm.org/events/2024-06-01/11th-annual-imagine-little-tokyo-short-story-contest-awards-ceremony). Registrants for the virtual program will receive a dedicated Zoom link.

Writer, producer and organizer Sean Miura will emcee the free event, which will be available both in person and online.

In addition to Ayumi Ito, other performers will be actors Kurt Kanazawa and Chloe Madriaga.

“We are excited and grateful for Ayumi Ito’s participation,” stated actor Eijiro Ozaki, a member of the Imagine Little Tokyo committee who was recently in the FX/Hulu series “Shōgun.” “The committee has been working to promote the contest as a worldwide effort to shine a light on our beloved Los Angeles community of Little Tokyo.”

This month the National Trust of Historic Preservation named Little Tokyo as one of eleven endangered sites. This announcement came as Little Tokyo begins a celebration of its 140 years of existence.

Ayumi Ito, who won a Japanese Academy Film Prize for Newcomer of the Year in director Shunji Iwai’s 1997 film, “Swallowtail Butterfly,” made her US drama series debut as Misaki in Max’s original series, “Tokyo Vice.” She also voiced the role of Tifa Lockhart in the videogame “Final Fantasy VII Rebirth.” She will be recording her reading in Japan, which will then be broadcast at the awards celebration.

Both Kurt Kanazawa and Chloe Madriaga will be performing their readings live at the Democracy Center. Kanazawa is an accomplished actor and opera singer trained at the Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music and Columbia University. His television and film credits include “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Bosch: Legacy,” Japanese American National Museum’s “A Life in Pieces: The Diary of Stanley Hayami” and “No No Girl” by Paul Daisuke Goodman, who served as one of this year’s judges.

Chloe Madriaga is an award-winning artist originally from Maui. Recently a featured actor in the Los Angeles stage production, “Kill Shelter,” she is an ensemble member of Theatre of NOTE. She has been a narrator for a number of audiobooks, including Every Drop a Man’s Nightmare, Iced in Paradise, An Eternal Lei, Halfway to the Middle, Aftershock and She Persisted: Patsy Mink.