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5th Annual Imagine Little Tokyo Short Story Contest

April 17, 2019 - May 1, 2019

The Little Tokyo Historical Society’s fifth-short story contest concluded with an Awards Reception held on the evening of Thursday, April 19, 2018 at the Union Church of Los Angeles in Little Tokyo. The winning stories were read by three professional actors. The purpose of the contest is to raise awareness of Little Tokyo through a creative story that takes place in Little Tokyo. The story has to be fictional and set in a current, past, or future Little Tokyo in the City of Los Angeles, California. 


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

1st Annual Imagine Little Tokyo Short Story Contest >>
2nd Annual Imagine Little Tokyo Short Story Contest >>
3rd Annual Imagine Little Tokyo Short Story Contest >>
4th 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 >>
11th Annual Imagine Little Tokyo Short Story Contest >>

fiction Little Tokyo

Stories from this series

Thumbnail for Remembering

May 1, 2019 • Madeline Parga

Rae sat in class, back straight and pen in hand, her elbow resting comfortably on a page already filled with notes. She attentively wrote down each important detail from the presentation slides being shown. The bell rang, and everyone began to pack up their things. “Hold on students,” the teacher spoke. “You have a special writing assignment due at the start of next week. You must write about a place you visited when you were younger. A place that scared …

Thumbnail for Writing lessons for the 77th birthday
Writing lessons for the 77th birthday

April 24, 2019 • Akira Tsurukame

On that day in mid-January, three days before the seventh anniversary of her husband's death, Baba Wako was in a bad mood from the morning. She woke up at 5 a.m. as usual. She is an elderly woman living alone, not working, and leading a carefree life, but out of long-standing habit, her eyes naturally open without an alarm clock. As soon as she sat up in bed, a faint pain ran through her body. It wasn't a sharp pain. …

Thumbnail for Life at the (Little Tokyo) Budokan
Life at the (Little Tokyo) Budokan

April 17, 2019 • James Toma

Jeff maneuvered his sleek black Audi off the freeway. He peered in either direction, unable to get his bearings. “This is just great,” he mumbled. He hadn’t been to Little Tokyo in years but had figured it would come back by memory once he got downtown. “You know how to get there, right?” asked his son Craig, slouched next to him, his blue and gold Sabers uniform draped loosely over his wiry frame, a pair of black headphones wrapped around …

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Authors in This Series

Madeline Parga is 19 years old and is finishing her freshman year at Cornell University. She has been writing imaginative stories since she was in the 3rd grade, and have been an avid visitor to Little Tokyo. As she continues on her college career and learns more about who she is, she thinks back fondly of Little Tokyo as it was the first place she began to form her own cultural identity.

Updated May 2019

James Toma is a former mayor of the City of West Covina and a supervising attorney at the California Department of Justice.

Married with two young children, James enjoys reading and sports. He coaches his son’s basketball team at the East San Gabriel Valley Japanese Community Center. His exposure to Japanese American basketball inspired him to write a short story for the Little Tokyo Historical Society contest.

James was born in Okinawa, but grew up in the California Central Valley. He graduated from Yale and the University of California, Berkeley. He is a past president of the Friends of the West Covina Library and the Japanese American Bar Association.

Updated April 2019

Akira Tsurukame was born in Kagoshima Prefecture in 1941. After graduating from La Salle High School in Kagoshima and Kyoto University of Foreign Studies in Kyoto, he joined the international tourism company New Orient Express in 1964. In 1966, he was dispatched to the company's US office as a representative and worked in Los Angeles and New York. He left the company in 1979 and traveled the world with his family. In 1980, he established California Coordinators in Los Angeles, providing local support for Japanese companies expanding into the US and Mexico. He later established Business Cafe in Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, and Tokyo with Japanese and American colleagues to provide support to California entrepreneurs expanding into the Japanese market.

Outside of business, Tsurukame's lifelong interest is in the relationship between Japan and the world, especially the US-Japan relationship. He is also interested in the history of Japanese immigration to the US, and continues to research it. He visited Mexico, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, etc. for three months to investigate the situation of Japanese communities in North America as well as South America. Recently, he featured pre-war Issei who contributed to the Japanese community and published an article in the Orange News, a monthly publication in Orange County, California. In 2018, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Meiji Restoration and Japanese immigration, he launched the "Japanese Pioneer Appreciation Society" with his new Issei friends, and successfully realized a project to express gratitude to pre-war Issei and Nisei. Tsurukame currently lives in Lomita with his wife and son. He is 78 years old.

(Updated April 2019)

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