This story originally ran in our Nisei Week supplement on August 5, 2014. To purchase a printed copy of the supplement, visit our office or call us at 213-629-2231.

2014 nw girls group 9951 5x7 300 dpi
Photos by Toyo Miyatake

Six candidates compete for the title of Nisei Week Queen on Saturday, August 9, 7 p.m., at the Coronation Ball, Aratani Japan America Theatre in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles. 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 coming year. The coronation is set to be an evening filled with laughter and entertainment, with actor Tamlyn Tomita and ABC Eyewitness News anchor David Ono as co-hosts. Special entertainment is former Earth, Wind, and Fire member Sheldon Reynolds and the band Devoted Spirits.

Arikawa Ashley 9817 5x7 300 dpiAshley Akemi Arikawa
Japanese Restaurant Association of America
Ashley Akemi Arikawa is 23 years old and graduated from UC Irvine with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. She hopes to pursue a career in corporate communications and works part-time at the J.Morey Company insurance agency as its social media and community outreach coordinator. Arikawa enjoys ballroom and Latin dancing, trying new recipes, hiking in the mountains, and volunteering in the community. Arikawa will support the Alzheimer’s Association as her platform.

Hashimoto Tiffany 9901 5x7 300 dpiTiffany Akemi Hashimoto
Gardena Evening Optimist Club
Tiffany Akemi Hashimoto is 23 years old and a graduate of USC, where she received a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. She attends Chapman University, pursuing a master’s degree in food science. She aspires to conduct research and develop healthier and more nutritious foods. Her hobbies include long distance running, hiking, playing taiko, painting, cooking, and developing new recipes. She will support the American Heart Association as her platform.

Kozono Melissa 9958 5x7 300 dpiMelissa Sayuri Kozono
East San Gabriel Valley Japanese Community Center
Melissa Sayuri Kozono is 23 years old and a graduate of UCLA where she received a bachelor’s degree in history. She currently works as the programs associate at the East San Gabriel Valley Japanese Community Center and hopes to continue her career in nonprofit management. Her hobbies include traveling, doing Japanese classical dance, watching new movies, reading, making ribbon leis, and going to Disneyland. Kozono will support the City of Hope as her platform.

Leon Tori 9867 5x7 300 dpiTori Angela Nishinaka-Leon
Pasadena Japanese Cultural Institute
Tori Angela Nishinaka-Leon is 24 years old and a graduate of Occidental College where she received a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She currently works at the office of Matthew Matsuzaki, OD in Pasadena and plans to pursue a career in optometry. Her hobbies include playing golf and violin, practicing yoga and Zumba, cooking, gardening, hiking, fishing, doing ikebana, and Obon hopping. The platform she will support is the DOVE Self-Esteem Project.

Mashburn Dominique 9987 5x7 300 dpiDominique Ariadne Mashburn
Orange County Nikkei Coordinating Council
Dominique Ariadne Mashburn is 22 years old and attends UCLA, where she is pursuing bachelor’s degrees in geology and earth and environmental science. She works at the UCLA Fund as a student fundraiser, and interns for CA Teach in the LAUSD, teaching science to students. Mashburn enjoys watching movies, cooking, reading, modern dancing, makeup artistry, volunteering, and tutoring/assisting students with special needs. Her platform is the Autism Society of America.

Sugimoto Lindsey 9937 5x7 300 dpiLindsey Emiko Sugimoto
West Los Angeles JACL & Venice Japanese Community Center
Lindsey Emiko Sugimoto is 22 years old and graduated from USC with two bachelor’s degrees, one in business administration, finance and the other in political science. She plans to attend law school and works at the law firm, Seki, Nishimura, and Watase LLC. Her hobbies include traveling around the world, trying different restaurants, and passionately rooting for the L.A. Lakers. Sugimoto is supporting the American Cancer Society as her platform.


The 2014 Nisei Week Japanese Festival is a nine-day event first held in 1934, and is recognized today as one of the longest-running ethnic festivals in the United States. This event will take place in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo district from August 9-17. For a calendar of events, log visit the Nisei Week website or contact the Nisei Week Foundation office by phone (213) 687-7193 or email. The Nisei Week office is located at 244 So. San Pedro St., Suite 303, Los Angeles, CA 90012.

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