Discover Nikkei

1st Annual Imagine Little Tokyo Short Story Contest

Oct. 6, 2014 - Jan. 12, 2015

As part of Little Tokyo Historical Society’s 130th Anniversary of Little Tokyo (1884-2014) celebratory activities throughout the year, Little Tokyo Historical Society held a fictional short story contest that awarded cash prizes to the top three. The fictional story had to depict the current, past, or future of Little Tokyo as part of the City of Los Angeles, California.


  • First Place: “Doka B-100” by Ernest Nagamatsu.
  • Second Place: “Carlos & Yuriko” by Rubén Guevara.
  • Third Place: “Mr. K” by Satsuki Yamashita.

Some of the other Finalists:

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

2nd 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 >>
11th Annual Imagine Little Tokyo Short Story Contest >>

fiction Little Tokyo

Stories from this series

Thumbnail for Nihonmachi Serenade
Nihonmachi Serenade

Jan. 12, 2015 • Chester Sakamoto

Prologue: September 14, 1992 I am often drawn back to places that hold a sentimental value for me. That being said, I had not been to Little Tokyo in years, but when I read in the paper that a new museum was opening to honor the legacy of Japanese Americans, I made it a point to pay it a visit. The Japanese American National Museum was housed in the Hompa Hongwanji Buddhist Temple building on First Street and Central Avenue. The …

Thumbnail for A Wedding in Little Tokyo
A Wedding in Little Tokyo

Dec. 29, 2014 • Avril Adams

It was Saturday evening. Mitsue Yamashita’s fingers moved nimbly over a pair of kimono panels. She threaded a needle through the autumn design, stitching the panels together which were the last to be assembled for the kimono she intended to wear for the Little Tokyo Nisei Week festivities. It was the fifth year of the worst economic downturn anyone could remember and everyone feared the festival would fail to attract people outside the Issei and Nisei community. Mitsue and her …

Thumbnail for A Little Piece of Home
A Little Piece of Home

Dec. 15, 2014 • Kiyoshi Parker

My second cousin had been here for a week already and she still hadn’t quite gotten used to the way of life here. Her name was Motoko and she was visiting from Tokyo, Japan. It was her first time abroad, and, of all places, Los Angeles would be her first exposure to anything foreign. I’ve spent all fifteen and a half years of my life here and even I still hadn’t gotten used to it. It hadn’t helped that my …

Thumbnail for The Guardians
The Guardians

Dec. 1, 2014 • Dmitri Ragano

The temple stood at the edge of Little Tokyo, its delicate roof and garden just beyond the harsh shadows of the surrounding urban landscape. Across the street was a warehouse with graffiti and iron bars on the windows. Beyond that, the gutters were littered with needles and glass pipes, the sidewalks teeming with lost souls searching for a home, searching for peace. For generations, the denizens of Little Tokyo had labored to preserve the ways of their native land in …

Thumbnail for Smile’s Sonata
Smile’s Sonata

Nov. 17, 2014 • Jeridel Banks

“Can you loan me this book?” A lanky man in a pair of black slacks and a white button-down shirt held a book in his hands. He was very tall, enough for me to tilt my head to look at his face. His skin was smooth and youthful, and his cheekbones rose high on his face, giving him a feminine nature. The jawline snapped to a strong point, defying the womanly features that accompanied his shapely nose and fair complexion. …

Thumbnail for Mr. K
Mr. K

Nov. 3, 2014 • Satsuki Yamashita

I don’t know what drove me to perversely show up at the Nippon Ichi-ban Ramen house on our designated day and time as if we were still together. We’d shared the same table for lunch every Wednesday for three years. I was proving her point about my rigidity and boringness, which were the reasons she cited for dumping me. I chose to ignore the real reason; the pretty-boy, new trial attorney on the Sugarman case. No matter how many ways …

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Authors in This Series

Avril Adams has been writing short stories for a number of years in various genres. Her most recent publication credit is “The Lowriders” in the Sisters In Crime/LA anthology Last Exit to Murder. “The Lowriders” is a short story about a young Mexican American man coming of age the hard way in Los Angeles at the beginning of World War II.

Avril’s background is in English literature and agricultural science, which may seem a strange combination for some, but it fuels her passion for both legs of literature—the abstract and the real world. She also has a passion for art, animals, antiques, true crime television, landscape design, and films.

She’s currently working on a crime novel with a female African American protagonist who takes on all kinds of shadowy figures in high places. Avril is delighted that her short story “A Wedding in Little Tokyo” is a finalist in the 1st annual Little Tokyo Historical Society’s short story contest.

Updated December 2014

After graduating from San Diego State University, Jeridel Banks went to Japan as an English teacher, manga podcaster, magical realism book reviewer, and Japanese culture blogger ( She is the author and illustrator of Ang Nanay Ko ("My Mother" in Tagalog) and The Ends Don't Tie with Rabbits.

Updated November 2014

Rubén “Funkahuatl” Guevara is a native Angelino and over the past 50 years has worked as a musician, record producer, journalist, poet, film actor, playwright-performance-theater artist, teacher, and activist. He is a UCLA graduate in World Arts & Cultures and lives and works in Boyle Heights.

Updated October 2014

Ernest lives in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles. In addition to his dental practice, he writes from time to time for Historic Racing Magazines. Ernie has written the first cookbook on the food and cuisine of the Kingdom of Bhutan- “Foods of the Kingdom of Bhutan” and the book was for Charity and for the Bhutan Foundation in Bhutan.

Updated October 2014

Kiyoshi Parker was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. He shares heritages with two countries: America and Japan, and spends time between the two whenever possible. He taught himself Japanese in his late teens. He has some critical success as an author with his novelette, The Death of Death, currently available on Amazon. His other full length novella, Autonomously Yours, is also available on Amazon, and he is currently working on several more short stories and another full length fantasy novel. He enjoys graphic design, television, and film.

Updated June 2015

Dmitri Ragano has wandered the world in his quest to become a story-teller. He grew up in Pittsburgh and lived in Japan for five years working as a journalist, translator, and technology consultant. He currently lives with his wife and daughter in Irvine. His latest novel is The Fugitive Grandma.

Updated November 2014

Chester Sakamoto is a self-proclaimed bibliophile and avid reader. A 26-year-old native of Los Angeles, he is currently in pursuit of an M.A. in English with an emphasis in American Literature. He enjoys singing, food, cinema, and frequent trips to independent bookstores.

Updated July 2015

Satsuki (Suki) Yamashita works for Kondo Wealth Advisors and also runs her own Outdoor Advertising Consultancy. Her parents lived and worked in Little Tokyo for many years, and the family used to meet every Sunday for dinner.

Updated October 2014

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