From left: Nisei Week queen candidates Juli Yoshinaga (Japanese Restaurant Association of America) and Kayla Igawa (Gardena Evening Optimist Club); Mia Lopez, Venice-West L.A. JACL and Venice JCC queen and Nisei Week candidate; 2018 Miss Western L.A. and Nisei Week Princess Marica Katie Snyder. (J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo)

Mia Lopez of Monterey Park was introduced as the 2019 queen of the Venice Japanese Community Center and Venice-West Los Angeles Japanese American Citizens League on June 22 during the VJCC’s Summer Festival.

Lopez, 24, daughter of Lily Hirahara, will be a queen candidate at this year’s Nisei Week Japanese Festival in Los Angeles.

A 2016 graduate of California State Polytechnic University, Pomona with a major in business-accounting, she is a staff accountant at AEG Presents.

Her hobbies include improvisation, henna, and photography, and she enjoys making mochi in December with her aunt.

Of her reasons for seeking the Nisei Week crown, she said, “I believe this will be a wonderful opportunity to learn new skills, become more involved in the Japanese American community, meet new people, learn about new causes, and learn more about Japanese history.

“Nisei Week is something that’s been important to my family since I was young and it would be a privilege to contribute to the traditions in any way.”

Lopez was introduced by 2018 Miss Western L.A. and Nisei Week Princess Marica Katie Snyder and was congratulated by VJCC President Wes Shimoda and Venice-West L.A. JACL President John Saito.

She was joined on the stage by two other Nisei Week queen candidates, Juli Yoshinaga of Rancho Palos Verdes, representing the Japanese Restaurant Association of America, and Kayla Igawa of Torrance, representing the Gardena Evening Optimist Club.

Yoshinaga is a graduate of CSU Long Beach with a degree in communication studies and a double minor in journalism and marketing. She is an executive assistant at Warner Bros. Entertainment.

Igawa graduated from CSULB with a degree in hospitality management and serves as event coordinator at the Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden on campus.

After the presentation, all four women participated in the Summer Festival’s ondo.

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