Nisei Week Queen candidates for 2018 made their official debut on July 15 at the Japanese American National Museum. Clockwise from top left: Tori Ai Kamada (Gardena Evening Optimist Club); Marica Katie Snyder (Venice-West Los Angeles JACL/Venice Japanese Community Center); Lauren Rei Miyamoto (East San Gabriel Valley Japanese Community Center); Alice Marina Amano (Orange County Nikkei Coordinating Council); Juli Ann Drindak (Pasadena Japanese Cultural Institute); and Kelly Midori Tsunawaki Mock (Japanese Restaurant Association of America).

Dignitaries perform the traditional kagami-biraki (sake barrel breaking) ceremony. From left: Satoshi Okawa, president, Japan Business Association of Southern California; Nancy Okubo, vice president, MUFG Union Bank; Ann Burroughs, CEO, Japanese American National Museum; Yuko Kaifu, president, Japan House Los Angeles; Cory Hayashi, president, Nisei Week Foundation; Akira Chiba, consul general of Japan in Los Angeles; Hideki Nakashiro, managing director and general manager, MUFG Union Bank; Jordyn Keiko Adachi, 2017 Nisei Week Queen.

Students of Madame Fujima Kansuma and Madame Fujima Kansuzu performed “Tokyo Gorin Ondo” and “Victory!”

Photographer Alan Miyatake presents three portraits taken by three generations of Miyatakes (including father Archie and grandfather Toyo) to Nisei Week choreographer Madame Fujima Kansuma (seated right) and Madame Fujima Kansuzu.

The queen candidates spoke on stage after being introduced by Michelle Suzuki, queen and court program director. The program also included appearances by the 2017 Nisei Week Queen and Court and the festival’s mascot, Aki the Akita; greetings from dignitaries; and a purification ceremony by Rev. Alfred Tsuyuki of Konko Church of Los Angeles.

Also announced were the grand marshal, Judge Vincent Okamoto; parade marshal, Aaron Takahashi; Pioneer Spirit Award recipients, Shingo Arase, Kenji Fukuoka, Seiji Horio, Art Ishii, Don Miyada, Roy Muraoka, Yuriko Tanaka and Audrey Yamagata-Noji; Inspiration Award recipient, Hal Keimi; and Frances K. Hashimoto Community Service Award recipients, Kizuna and Pyua 02.

The Nisei Week Coronation will be held on Aug. 11 at the Aratani Theatre and the newly crowned queen and court will ride through the streets of Little Tokyo in the Grand Parade on Aug. 12. For more information, visit

Photos by MARIO G. REYES/Rafu Shimpo

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