Taking Center Stage

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From left, Ashley Mieko Honma (Pasadena Japanese Cultural Institute), Stephanie Megumi Fukunaga (West Los Angeles JACL and Venice Japanese Community Center), Lauren Naomi Iwata (Gardena Evening Optimist), Megumi Yuhara (Japanese Restaurant Association), Jamie Tomiko Teragawa (East San Gabriel Valley Japanese Community Center) and Laura Akemi Higashi (Orange County Nikkei Coordinating Council) made their official debut on Sunday as the 2013 Nisei Week Queen candidates. The coronation and Grand Parade take place in Little Tokyo on the weekend of Aug. 10-11.

The 73rd annual Nisei Week Festival kicked off with an opening ceremony held at the Japanese American National Museum, sponsored by the Japan Business Association of Southern California. The ceremony included a kagami-wari, in which dignitaries break open a sake barrel to mark an auspicious occasion. Pictured from left are JBA Vice President Ryuji Watanabe, 2012 Nisei Week Queen Emily Folick, Consul General of Japan Jun Niimi, Nisei Week President Steve Inouye, and JANM CEO Greg Kimura.

Students representing Madame Sanjo Kangiku, 2013 Nisei Week choreographer, perform “Ayako no Okuni Jimandayo.”

Left: Rev. Alfred Tsuyuki of Konko Church performs a blessing. Right: Nisei Week President Steve Inouye.

The 2013 Nisei Week Queen candidates were joined by the 2012 Nisei Week Court and Aki the Akita, the festival’s official mascot.

Photos by MARIO G. REYES/Rafu Shimpo

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