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Imagine Little Tokyo Short Story Contest Winners to Be Honored

From left: Kurt Ikeda, Akiko Katagiri and Mike Hagiwara will give dramatic readings of the winning stories.

The Little Tokyo Historical Society will honor the winners for the fifth annual Imagine Little Tokyo Short Story Contest at a reception on Thursday, April 19, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Union Church of Los Angeles, 401 E. Third St. (at San Pedro Street) in Little Tokyo.

The contest included adult, youth and Japanese-language categories.

At the reception, performers Kurt Ikeda and Mike Hagiwara will present dramatic readings of the English-language winners’ work, while actress Akiko Katagiri will read the winning Japanese-language short story.

All winners will be awarded $500 and will have their short story published in **The Rafu Shimpo** and posted on the Discover Nikkei website.

“We have been so impressed with this year’s submissions,” said Bill Watanabe, head of the Imagine Little Tokyo committee. “One of the notable stories was written by a boy who is 11 years old.”

Serving as final judges were:

Adult English-language — Dan Kwong, Irene Simonian, Sharon Yamato;

Youth — Sarah Kuhn, Carrie Morita, Stan Yogi;

Japanese-language — Shige Higashi, Tomomi Kamemaru, Tatsuya Kawashima.

The winners are:

English-Language, Adult — James Toma, “Life at the Budokan.” Honorable mention: Jeff Tanaka, “The Legend of Tsutomu and the Great Earthquake 2025.”

Youth — Madeline Parga, “Remembering.” Honorable mention: Austen Lock, “The Path to Forgiveness.”

Japanese-Language, Adult — Akira Tsurukame, “Kiju no Tenarai.” Honorable mention: Atsuko Miyake, “Kagawa Bunichi Story.”

The reception is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

For more information on the Little Tokyo Historical Society, visit

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