2022 Nisei Week Court: (back row, from left) Maile Tabata Yanguas, Faith Sumiko Nishimura, Lorie Hatsuko Meza, Amanda Akiko Hiraishi; (front row, from left) Kristine Emiko Yada, Emily Shigeko Kumagai, Audrey Emi Nakaoka. (Photo by Alan Miyatake)

The 2022 Nisei Week Queen candidates took center stage for their first official public appearance at the 80th Nisei Week Festival Opening Ceremony event held July 17 at the Japanese American National Museum.

The seven candidates will vie for the title of Nisei Week Queen on Saturday, Aug. 13, at 3 p.m. during the Coronation at the Aratani Japan America Theatre in Little Tokyo. General admission tickets are $85 per person.

Upon official coronation, the 2022 queen and court will represent the Nisei Week Foundation at this year’s 80th Nisei Week Japanese Festival and other community events locally and nationally throughout the year. The 2022 Nisei Week queen candidates are:

Amanda Akiko Hiraishi (East San Gabriel Valley Japanese Community Center)

Amanda is 25 years old and graduated from UC Berkeley with a bachelor’s degree in public health. She earned a Master of Public Health and a Master of Business Administration from Claremont Graduate University. Amanda currently works as the program coordinator at the Health Consortium of San Gabriel Valley. In her free time, she enjoys taking videos and photos for her food blog, going to the farmer’s market to sample all the various loaves of bread, and playing basketball. She will support the Japanese American Citizens League as her platform this year.

Emily Shigeko Kumagai (San Fernando Valley Japanese American Community Center)

Emily is 20 years old and graduated from Azusa Pacific University with a bachelor’s degree in allied health. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in public health at Azusa Pacific University and aspires to become the first medical doctor in her family. When she has spare time, she enjoys dancing and singing to K-pop and J-pop, training in Shotokan karate, and learning new languages including Korean, Spanish, and Japanese. The platform she has chosen to support is the Japanese American Medical Association.

Lorie Hatsuko Meza (Pasadena Japanese Cultural Institute)

Lorie is 22 years old and earned her bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from Willamette University. She currently works as a paralegal and aspires to obtain her ABA paralegal certification. Lorie loves all things Marvel and Star Wars and spends her weekends volunteering as a princess or superhero for children battling illnesses or living in low-income communities. The platform she has chosen to support is Okaeri — A Nikkei LGBTQ+ Community.

Audrey Emi Nakaoka (Gardena Evening Optimist)

Audrey is 25 years old and graduated from UC Irvine with a bachelor’s degree in international studies. Currently, she works as an account representative at Aiya America, a Japanese matcha company. During her free time, she enjoys playing piano, especially Korean pop ballads, and classical music such as Chopin. She also loves watching college basketball and rooting on her favorite team, the UCLA Bruins. She will support Kizuna, which is building a future for the community through the education, empowerment, and engagement of the next generation, as her platform.

Faith Sumiko Nishimura, (Venice Japanese Community Center and Venice-West Los Angeles JACL)

Faith Sumiko Nishimura is 21 years old and currently pursuing a degree in marketing with a double minor in Asian and Asian American studies at Loyola Marymount University. She aims to work at the intersection of technology and storytelling, while continuing to advocate for the AAPI community and beyond. In her spare time, she enjoys debating, rock climbing, sewing, and upcycling clothes. For her platform, she will be supporting Nikkei Progressives.

Kristine Emiko Yada (Orange County Nikkei Coordinating Council)

Kristine is 23 years old and earned her bachelor’s degree in clinical nutrition from UC Davis. She recently graduated from CSU Long Beach with a master’s degree in nutrition science. Kristine is currently completing her supervised practice hours to become a registered dietitian. When she has free time, she enjoys cooking at home, hiking, and stream fishing in Mammoth when she can get away. The platform she has chosen to support is Changing Tides, which is committed to ending the stigma surrounding mental health and normalizing healthy discussions within the Japanese American community.

Maile Tabata Yanguas (Japanese Restaurant Association of America)

Maile is 24 years old and graduated from CSU Fullerton with a bachelor’s degree in health sciences. She currently works as a talent sourcer at a startup technology company called eduMe and hopes to become a recruiter or manager for the company. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, eating at new restaurants, hip-hop dancing, watching musical performances, and editing videos of her Disney World adventures. The platform she has chosen to support this year is the Veterans Memorial Court Alliance.

The coronation program is set to be a memorable event with co-hosts actor Tamlyn Tomita and ABC7 Eyewitness News anchor David Ono. For tickets, contact Keith Inatomi at keithi100@aol.com.

The 80th Nisei Week Japanese Festival is a nine-day event first held in 1934 and is recognized today as one of the longest-running cultural festivals in the U.S. This event will take place in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo district from Aug. 13-21. For the festival schedule, visit http://NiseiWeek.org, call the Nisei Week Foundation office at (213) 687-7193 or email info@niseiweek.org.

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