Queen & Court Program

Program providing leadership development, cultural enrichment,
and opportunities to make lifelong connections

2022 Queen & Court

The queen and court are selected at Coronation, one of Nisei Week’s marquee events.

The 2022 Nisei Week Court
(L to R): Princess Amanda Hiraishi (East San Gabriel Valley Japanese Community Center), Princess Faith Nishimura (Venice Japanese Community Center & Venice-West Los Angeles JACL), Miss Tomodachi Maile Yanguas (Japanese Restaurant Association of America), Nisei Week Queen Kristine Yada (Orange County Nikkei Coordinating Council), First Princess Audrey Nakaoka (Gardena Evening Optimist Club), Princess Lorie Meza (Pasadena Japanese Cultural Institute), and Princess Emily Kumagai (San Fernando Valley Japanese American Community Center)

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Princess - Amanda Hiraishi

East San Gabriel Valley Japanese Community Center

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Princess - Emily Kumagai

San Fernando Valley Japanese American Community Center

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1st Princess - Audrey Nakaoka

Gardena Evening Optimist Club

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Queen - Kristine Yada

Orange County Nikkei Coordinating Council

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Miss Tomodachi - Maile Yanguas

Japanese Restaurant Association of America

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Princess - Lorie Meza

Pasadena Japanese Cultural Institute

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Princess - Faith Nishimura

Venice Japanese Community Center & Venice-West Los Angeles JACL

Queen & Court Program

The queen and court program offers young Japanese American women an opportunity to learn about their Japanese heritage, develop their personal and professional skills, and engage with the community.

Community organizations sponsor candidates to participate in this multi-faceted program. Candidates work closely with the Queen Committee and mentors in the community.

During the one-year reign, the Nisei Week court members have the opportunity to gain wide exposure to global dignitaries and local industry leaders and the chance to travel to cities including Nagoya, Japan; San Francisco; and Honolulu, Hawaii to experience the various sister festivals and make life-long connections. For more information, please see the Candidate Interest Form.

Past Queens & Courts

Explore the history of Nisei Week and discover its evolution from inception to present day. This gallery evokes a nostalgic glimpse back in time. Click on a former queen to reveal the court photo.
1930s
1935

Alice Watanabe

1936

Renko Oyama

1937

Clara Suski

1938

Margaret Nishikawa

1939

Shizue Narahara

1940s
1940

Shizue Kobayashi

1941

Reiko Inouye

1949

Terri Hokoda

1950s
1950

Sachi Kazunaga

1951

Aiko Ogomori

1952

Emiko Kato

1953

Judy Sugita

1954

June Aochi

1955

Stella Nakadate

1956

Phyllis Ono

1957

Mitzi Miya

1958

Jean Yasui

1959

Faith Higurashi

1960s
1960

Penny Tani

1961

Dianne Kubota

1962

France Yanai

1963

Helen Funai

1964

Sandy Saito

1965

Carol Kunitsugu

1966

Ruby Komai

1967

Joanne Uehara

1968

Claire Nonoshita

1969

Toni Sakamoto

1970s
1970

Joann Uyemura

1971

Joyce Kikuchi

1972

Carol Matsunaga

1973

Cheryl Kawakami

1974

Eliza Cuthbert

1975

Dulcie Ogi

1976

Sandra Toshiyuki

1977

Loris Kurashige

1978

Lisa Yamamoto

1979

Jeanne Nakagama

1980s
1980
Hedy Posey
1981
Frances Shima
1982
Janet Barnes
1983
Tracy Isawa
1984
Tamlyn Tomita
1985
Tish Okabe
1986
Jennifer Ahn
1987
LeeAnne Sera
1988
Karen Uchizono
1989

Sandra Fukushima

1990s
1990
Sandra Posey
1991
Mutsuko Sata
1992
Andrea Kawamoto
1993
Naomi Ono
1994
Kimi Evans
1995
Judy Gilbertson
1996
Joann Shin
1997
Janelle Hamabata
1998
Tiffany Hattori
1999
Traci Murase
2000s
2000
Tricia Tanaka
2001
Lauren Kinkade
2002
Jamie Mizuhara
2003
Nicole Cherry
2004
Nikki Kodama
2005
Steffanie Tamehiro
2006
2006
Liane Takano
2007
2007
Monika Teuffel
2008
2008
Jill Hiraizumi
2009
2009
Dana Heatherton
2010s
2010
2010
Lani Nishiyama
2011
2011
Erika Olsen
2012
2012
Emily Folick
2013
2013
Lauren Iwata
2014
2014
Tori Leon
2015
2015
Sara Hutter
2016
2016
Jaclyn Tomita
2017
2017
Jordyn Adachi
2018
2018
Alice Amano
2019
2019
Juli Yoshinaga
2020s
2021
2021
Jaime Hasama

Candidate Interest Form

All Nisei Week candidates must first be sponsored by an organization recognized by the Nisei Week Foundation in order to qualify for the program. A list of current approved sponsors can be found here. For assistance in contacting a sponsor, please complete the form below.

For assistance in contacting a sponsor, please email nwqcprogram@gmail.com. Application periods vary by sponsor, but are typically between December – April.

Time Commitment

To become a Nisei Week queen candidate is a 4-month commitment.
  • Training practice is held at night at least once a week for four months, from April through mid-August (Coronation).
  • Dance rehearsals are held on additional weekend days/evenings.
  • Cultural enrichment classes will be offered as part of the training.
  • During the festival, the Nisei Week court will spend the entire week at the DoubleTree by Hilton, Little Tokyo.
Following Coronation, being a part of the Nisei Week court is a YEAR-LONG commitment.

Throughout the year, the Nisei Week Queen and Court will be invited to participate in events including, but not limited to:

  • Annual Nisei Week visitation and trips
  • Community service
  • Community appearances
  • Cultural events
  • Nisei Week sponsor events

Monetary Commitment

Some personal costs are involved in the training process and as a member of the Nisei Week court. While Nisei Week and your sponsors attempt to offset as much of the cost as possible through donations, there will be personal items candidates/court members will need to purchase. In addition to personal items, any travel expenses during the year will be the responsibility of the court members. Travel expenses for the Nisei Week queen will be sponsored.

Platform

Each candidate will be asked to choose an organization and/or cause they plan to support throughout the year. Explanation of the selected platform and a plan for support may be evaluated as part of the judging criteria.

Candidate Interest Form

  • Please enter a number from 19 to 25.
  • (Southern California residency required for the duration of candidacy and court appointment)

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