Little Tokyo Historical Society (LTHS) is launching a short story (maximum 2,500 words) contest, “Imagine Little Tokyo.” The deadline is Jan. 31, 2014.

The first- and second-place winners will receive cash awards of $1,000 and $500, respectively.

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 fiction and depict the current, past or future of Little Tokyo as part of the City of Los Angeles.

“Little Tokyo is an historic cultural neighborhood that is rich with historic, cultural, religious, and community landmarks that could provide a wonderful backdrop for a myriad of creative stories,” said Bill Watanabe, chair of the Imagine Little Tokyo Committee. “That is why the Little Tokyo Historical Society is launching this new project – to challenge writers to weave fun and interesting stories around Little Tokyo that people would love to read, and at the same time, this would help promote our cultural history, heritage and ethnic neighborhood.” 

The winning stories will appear in The Rafu Shimpo and a public award ceremony and readings are also planned in 2014. 

A free Little Tokyo walking tour and writing workshop will be offered on Saturday, Oct. 12, from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Little Tokyo branch of the Los Angeles Public Library, 203 S. Los Angeles St. To RSVP, email

“I hope we get submissions from a wide spectrum of writers – young and old, near and far, ethnic or not,” said Watanabe. “It will be fun and exciting to read the stories and help pick the best ones for the cash prizes.”

Financial supporters of the contest include individual donors and the Sansei Legacy Fund.

For more information, go online to   


• The story must be original, fictional, written in English by the submitting author and never been published (including online).

• The setting of the story should be in Little Tokyo – past, present or future.

• Submitted manuscript should be 2,500 words or less and have a title.

• File should be a Microsoft Word doc, docx, or rtf.

• Use 12 point font, preferably Times Roman or Courier type.

• Remove any mention of your name from your short story, including headers.

• The manuscript must be submitted digitally as an email attachment to (include SHORT STORY in the subject line). In the email message, include your name, phone number and age if under 18. Upon its receipt, LTHS will email you a contest agreement form with instructions on where to mail the signed agreement.

• Submissions need to be emailed by Jan. 31, 2014, 12 midnight PST. No exceptions.

• Immediate family members of judges (first-round or final) are ineligible.

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