Lauren Naomi Iwata crowned Nisei Week Queen


Lauren Naomi Iwata photo by Toyo Miyatake Studios

Lauren Naomi Iwata photo by Toyo Miyatake Studios
Lauren Naomi Iwata.
photo by Toyo Miyatake Studios

LOS ANGELES — Lauren Naomi Iwata was crowned the 2013 Nisei Week Queen Aug. 10, during the Nisei Week Festival’s coronation event at the Japan America Theatre in Little Tokyo. The 2012 Nisei Week Queen Emily Michi Iijima Folick passed on her reign to Iwata, who is the daughter of Clyde and Fern Iwata of Torrance, Calif.

Five judges selected Iwata, who represented the Gardena Evening Optimist Club. Iwata, who is 25 years old, holds a bachelor’s degree  in human development from the California State University, Long Beach. She also recently received her master’s degree in gerontology from the University of Southern California.

Actress Tamilyn Tomita and ABC Eyewitness News Anchor David Ono co-hosted the evening. Cold Tofu, an Asian American comedy improvisation and sketch group, provided the entertainment, performing a comical skit. Cold Tofu is also this year’s Nisei Week parade marshal.

The 2013 Nisei Week Court includes:

Queen Lauren Naomi Iwata (Gardena Evening Optimist Club)is interning at Keiro Senior HealthCare. In her free time, she enjoys running half marathons, playing basketball and building little cityscapes out of Legos. Iwata will support the Alzheimer’s Association as her platform.

First Princess Ashley Mieko Honma (Pasadena Japanese Cultural Institute) is 24 years old and graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a bachelor’s degree in Japanese. She works part-time at BLC America and Green Energy Lighting Corporation as an administrative assistant. In her free time, Honma enjoys playing basketball, reading books and fashion magazines, attending R&B and indie music concerts and traveling. Honma will support Dec My Room Los Angeles as her platform.

Miss Tomodachi Megumi Yuhara (Japanese Restaurant Association of America) is 23 years old and graduated from the California State University, Long Beach with a bachelor’s degree in music. She works as an administrative assistant for TriCom Quest, a professional recruitment agency, located in Gardena, Calif. Yuhara’s hobbies include: baking, creating music and reading about neurology. Yuhara will support the National Association for Music Education as her platform.

Princess Stephanie Megumi Fukunaga (West Los Angeles JACL and Venice Japanese Community Center) is 22 years old and recently graduated from the University of California, Riverside with a bachelor’s degree in biology. She volunteers at Kaiser Permanente with the intent to pursue a career as a physical therapist. In her spare time, Fukunaga enjoys trying new recipes, scrapbooking, running and practicing yoga. Fukunaga will support the nonprofit Susan G. Komen for the Cure, which raises awareness to find a cure for breast cancer, as her platform.

Princess Laura Akemi Higashi (Orange County Nikkei Coordinating Council) is 23 years old and received her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Irvine as a double major in psychology and social behavior and criminology, law and society. Higashi is currently pursuing a master of social work degree from USC. Her hobbies include: snowboarding, taking amateur photos of her adventures and traveling. Higashi will support the Orange County Ronald McDonald House as her platform.

Princess Jamie Tomiko Teragawa (East San Gabriel Valley Japanese Community Center) is 24 years old and attends the California State University, Los Angeles and is completing a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences to pursue a career in the medical field. In her spare time, Teragawa enjoys going to Disneyland, hiking, and watching live basketball games. Teragawa will support the City of Hope as her platform.

The 2013 Nisei Week Japanese Festival is a nine-day event first held in 1934, and is recognized today as one of the longest running ethnic festivals in the United States. This event was held in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo district from Aug. 10 to 18.

For more information, visit or call the Nisei Week Foundation office at (213) 687-7193.

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