2nd Annual Imagine Little Tokyo Short Story Contest

The Little Tokyo Historical Society conducted its second annual short story (fiction) writing contest which concluded on April 22, 2015 at a reception in Little Tokyo in which the winners and finalists were announced. Last year's contest was entirely in English whereas this year's contest also had a youth category and a Japanese-language category, with cash prizes awarded for each category. The only requirement (other than the story could not exceed 2,500 words or 5,000 Japanese characters) was that the story had to involve Little Tokyo in some creative manner.

Winners (First Place)

Some of the Finalists to be featured are:



      Japanese (Japanese only)

*Read stories from other Imagine Little Tokyo Short Story Contests:

1st Annual Imagine Little Tokyo Short Story Contest >>
3rd Annual Imagine Little Tokyo Short Story Contest >>
4th Annual Imagine Little Tokyo Short Story Contest >>
5th Annual Imagine Little Tokyo Short Story Contest >>
6th Annual Imagine Little Tokyo Short Story Contest >>
7th Annual Imagine Little Tokyo Short Story Contest >>
8th Annual Imagine Little Tokyo Short Story Contest >>
9th Annual Imagine Little Tokyo Short Story Contest >>
10th Annual Imagine Little Tokyo Short Story Contest >>

community en

Fish Market In Little Tokyo

The white noise of the ocean washed over the shore and reached for the cloudless sky.

Wave after wave.

The surf rolled slowly onto the beach.

Wave after wave.

The foam met the sand, and the sand met the foam.

The wind—

Yukio woke to the sound of his alarm. A monotone digital beep rang out three times before he turned it off and moved to the side of his bed. Half covered, he reached for his bedside lamp and took a moment.

In the dim light, he rubbed his eyes: the clock read “2 a.m.”

He showered quickly, dressed …

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culture en

Kazuo Alone

Kazuo embraced Mondays like no other, and that was because of its silence. Mondays were sweet, a sweep of semi-peace in the streets of Los Angeles. The typical street-crawlers were in school and the typical tourists at their nine to five jobs, and so Kazuo chose Monday to roam, map, conquer his neighborhoods unperturbed. Mondays were a convenience only when eighty-five of your years had passed and your company along with it. It was nice timing for those who desired solace. The old man had fit this criteria to a tee.

People talked about him, of course; no one who …

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community en

Masao and the Bronze Nightingale

Boyle Heights, 1940

“Hey Masao, where did you score those fine drapes, ese?”

“Over on Brooklyn and Soto. Manny Garcia’s uncle has a tailor shop there.”

“Órale pues, you’re lookin’ sharp, vato!”

Thanks, Lil’ Joe, ay te watcho, catch you later, carnal!”

Yeah, Masao Imoto knew how to dress sharp alright. He was a Japanese American nisei zoot suitor, a pachuke, Japanese slang for pachuco. The older generation called them yógore “those that get dirty drinking and gambling hanging out at pool halls and picking up prostitutes.” Yeah, they were the bad boys of …

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The Queen of Manzanar

In a museum in Little Tokyo there is a small space segregated by room dividers, and each of these artificial walls is covered with monochrome photographs. It was by accident that Ken came across this room. At first he was lured in by the pictures of old blue sedans and steam locomotives. Moving further along the wall, he saw pictures with crowds of people wearing overcoats and hats and carrying large suitcases. On the next wall, the scenes shifted entirely. Flat deserts dominated the foreground and mountains loomed in the distance. Children were playing ball, kicking up dust with their …

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culture en

For a Look at New Worlds

Every generation has an obligation to free men’s minds
for a look at new worlds…to look out from a higher
plateau than the last generation. —Ellison S. Onizuka

Griff Onizuka stood in front of his great-great-grandfather’s memorial, a swirl of brightly coloured paper cranes flew around the 27-foot-high copy of the Space Shuttle Challenger, the brass base, the face of Ellison S. Onizuka. As if caught in a beautiful pastel tornado of little wings, the monument had its picture taken from hundreds of different angles. If Griff wanted to reproduce this on Mars, he’d need multiple shots for the holographic …

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