2016 Nisei Week Queen & Court


The 2016 Nisei Week Court -From L to R: Princess Kaya Minezaki (Japanese Restaurant Association of America), Princess Shannon Aiko Rose Tsumaki (West Los Angeles JACL & Venice Japanese Community Center),1st Princess Megan Tomiko Ono (Orange County Nikkei Coordinating Council), Queen Jaclyn Hidemi Tomita (San Fernando Valley Japanese Community Center), Miss Tomodachi Julia Kiyomi Tani (Pasadena Japanese Cultural Institute), Princess April Leilani Nishinaka (Gardena Evening Optimist), and Princess Heather Yoneko Iwata (East San Gabriel Japanese Community Center). 

All photos courtesy Toyo Miyatake Studios


Queen Jaclyn Hidemi Tomita

San Fernando Valley Japanese Community Center

Jaclyn Hidemi Tomita is 24 years old and graduated from San Diego State University with a bachelor’s degree in multimedia art. She plans to attend nursing school to become a registered nurse, and later hopes to return to school to become a nurse practitioner and also pursue a doctorate degree. Tomita’s hobbies include attending live music performances, making pottery pieces, listening to spoken word poetry, and watching plays at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood. Tomita is supporting the Michael J. Fox Foundation as her platform.


1st Princess Megan Tomiko Ono

Orange County Nikkei Coordinating Council

Megan Tomiko Ono is 23 years old and a graduate of California State University, Long Beach with a bachelor’s degree in communication studies and a minor in marketing. She plans to attend graduate school and pursue a career in the nonprofit field, using her marketing and communication skills to support under-served communities. Ono’s hobbies include playing basketball, running and surfing at the beach, serving as a facilitator for Kizuna’s youth programs, and volunteering for other Japanese American community organizations. She will support the Lakers Youth Foundation as her platform.


Miss Tomodachi Julia Kiyomi Tani

Pasadena Japanese Cultural Institute

Julia Kiyomi Tani is 24 years old and a graduate of the California Maritime Academy with a bachelor’s degree in international business and logistics. She hopes to become a special education teacher or speech pathologist. Tani’s hobbies include playing basketball, volunteering in the community, working with special needs children, and going to Disneyland. She will support PATH as her platform this year.


Heather Yoneko Iwata

East San Gabriel Valley Japanese Community Center

Heather Yoneko Iwata is 25 years old and graduated from the University of Southern California with a bachelor’s degree in communication. She aspires to be a leader in cultivating diversity within the entertainment industry and would eventually like to open up her own small business in Little Tokyo. Iwata’s hobbies include fly-fishing for trout at Mammoth Lakes, exploring hole-in-the-wall restaurants, mentoring at-risk teens, and venturing to foreign countries to experience how others live. This year Iwata will support the Pediatric Cancer Research Program as her platform.


Kaya Minezaki

Japanese Restaurant Association of America

Kaya Minezaki is 24 years old and a graduate of the University of Hawaii at Manoa where she received her bachelor’s degree in biology and a minor in English. She also studied abroad at Waseda University in Japan and Freie Universität Berlin in Germany before completing her degree. She plans to attend medical school, specializing in emergency medicine and working to provide compassionate healthcare to diverse and underserved communities. Minezaki’s hobbies include playing the piano, dancing hula, learning foreign languages, hiking, traveling, and trying different ethnic cuisines. She will support Project Angel Food as her platform this year.


April Leilani Nishinaka

Gardena Evening Optimist

April Leilani Nishinaka is 23 years old and graduated from the University of Southern California with a bachelor’s degree in physics and a minor in American studies and ethnicity. She aspires to become a high school math or science teacher. Nishinaka’s hobbies include doing arts and crafts, playing the violin, cheering for the USC Trojans and Los Angeles Dodgers, watching Disney movies, and empowering youth. The platform she will support this year is the Expanding Your Horizons Network.


Shannon Aiko Rose Tsumaki

West Los Angeles JACL & Venice Japanese Community Center

Shannon Aiko Rose Tsumaki is 22 years old and a graduate of Whittier College with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a minor in anthropology. She hopes to attain a management role in human resources, helping individuals to reach their potential as motivated and efficient employees. Tsumaki’s hobbies include playing and coaching basketball, going to Disneyland, visiting her family in Hawaii, hanging out with her friends, watching movies, and baking treats. The platform she will support this year is the Susan G. Komen for the Cure.