Queen & Court Program

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

2019 Nisei Week Queen & Court

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

(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.

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Queen Juli Yoshinaga

Japanese Restaurant Association of America

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1st Princess Mia Masae Lopez

Venice Japanese Community Center & Venice-West Los Angeles JACL

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Kayla Sachiko Igawa

Gardena Evening Optimist

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Miss Tomodachi Kara Chizuru Ito

Orange County Nikkei Coordinating Council

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Ariel Mei Imamoto

San Fernando Valley Japanese American Community Center

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Marika Kate Gotschall

Pasadena Japanese Cultural Institute

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Emily Yuiko Ishida

East San Gabriel Valley Japanese Community Center

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

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.

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

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