2019 Nisei Week Queen & Court

(L to R): Princess Ariel Mei Imamoto, Princess Emily Yuiko Ishida, First Princess Mia Masae Lopez, 2019 Nisei Week Queen Juli Yoshinaga, Miss Tomodachi Kara Chizuru Ito, Princess Marika Kate Gotschall, and Princess Kayla Sachiko Igawa.

Queen Juli Yoshinaga

Japanese Restaurant Association of America

Birthplace: Torrance, California

Age: 23

Education: California State University, Long Beach

Degree: Bachelor of Arts

Major: Communication Studies

Platform: Women Make Movies

Hobbies & activities: Cooking with her mother and volunteering for the Japanese American Citizens League.

Professional / Career Goals: Currently works at Warner Brothers Entertainment Group in multicultural marketing. She would like to continue working in her field and one day become a decision maker to ensure that diverse communities are being represented on the big screen.

What do you like most about Nisei Week? “From toddlers to the elderly, volunteers to community leaders, Nisei Week seems to always have a place for everyone in the community and those who want to learn more about our culture. It’s amazing to see how our community comes together each year to celebrate Nisei Week.”

Parents: Tim and Mifumi Yoshinaga

1st Princess Mia Masae Lopez

Venice Japanese Community Center & Venice-West Los Angeles JACL

Birthplace: Los Angeles, California

Age: 25

Education: California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

Degree: Bachelor of Science

Major: Business Administration – Accounting

Platform: Tree People

Hobbies & activities: Sharing the art of henna tattoos, shooting portrait photography, and comedic improvisation.

Professional / Career Goals: Continue working and learning in the accounting and comedy fields.

What do you like most about Nisei Week? “The most appealing thing about Nisei Week is the sisterhood and friendships made throughout the festival.”

Parents: Lily Hirahara and Frank Lopez

 

Miss Tomodachi Kara Chizuru Ito

Orange County Nikkei Coordinating Council

Birthplace: Orange, California

Age: 22

Education: Concordia University, Irvine

Degree: Bachelor of Science

Major: Pre-Physical Therapy

Platform: CHOC (Children’s Hospital of Orange County) Children’s Foundation

Hobbies & activities: Playing basketball and board games, as well as volunteering at Cornerstone Pediatric Physical Therapy Clinic.

Professional / Career Goals: Become a pediatric and orthopedic physical therapist and eventually open her own practice.

What do you like most about Nisei Week? “I love that everyone I know from the JA community comes together, hangs out, and celebrates while eating yummy food.”

Parents: Edward and Caryn Ito

 

Marika Kate Gotschall

Pasadena Japanese Cultural Institute

Birthplace:  Bellflower, California

Age:  24

Education:  California State University, Long Beach

Degree: Bachelor of Science

Major:  Environmental Science and Policy

Platform:  Surfrider Foundation

Hobbies & activities:  Camping, hiking, and scuba diving.

Professional / Career Goals:  Pursue a profession that works to help the environment.

What do you like most about Nisei Week?   “What I like most about Nisei Week is that it brings together a community of people to celebrate and honor being Japanese American.”

Parents: Brook Gotschall and Yukie Pottger

 

Kayla Sachiko Igawa

Gardena Evening Optimist

Birthplace:  Torrance, California

Age:  23

Education:  California State University, Long Beach

Degree: Bachelor of Science

Major:  Hospitality Management

Platform:  Alzheimer’s Association

Hobbies & activities:  Playing basketball, volleyball, drawing, going to Disneyland, volunteering as a counselor at youth summer camps, and traveling.

Professional / Career Goals:  Continue to work as an event coordinator and eventually become a venue manager.

What do you like most about Nisei Week? “I like that Nisei Week brings the Japanese American community together to experience our many traditions and culture through enjoyable festivities such as the food, music, and Odori dancing.”

Parents: Wayne and Irene Igawa

 

Ariel Mei Imamoto

San Fernando Valley Japanese American Community Center

Birthplace:  Downey, California

Age:  22

Education:  California State University, Fullerton

Degree: Bachelor of Arts

Major:  Accounting

Platform:  Active Minds

Hobbies & activities:  Playing basketball, yoga, hiking, and learning about her family history and heritage.

Professional / Career Goals:  Pursue a CPA license and a career in public accounting.

What do you like most about Nisei Week? “I like that Nisei Week brings together the greater Japanese American community and allows opportunities for the younger and older generations to get together and create new relationships in the community.”

Parents: Kevin Imamoto and Mimi Shoho

 

Emily Yuiko Ishida

East San Gabriel Valley Japanese Community Center

Birthplace:  Whittier, California

Age:  23

Education:  California State University, Los Angeles

Degree: Bachelor of Science

Major: Biology

Platform:  Shelter’s Right Hand

Hobbies & activities:  Photography, indoor rock climbing, hiking, watching Marvel movies, and anything Disney.

Professional / Career Goals:  Pursue a career working in research related to medical psychology.    

What do you like most about Nisei Week?   “I very much admire the resilience of Nisei Week and all that the Festival has endured throughout history. It makes me feel special and proud to be a member of the Japanese American community.”

Parents: Dunn and Mayumi Ishida

 


All photos courtesy Toyo Miyatake Studios