Imagine Little Tokyo Short Story Contest

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:

Imagine Little Tokyo Short Story Contest II >>
Imagine Little Tokyo Short Story Contest III >>
Imagine Little Tokyo Short Story Contest IV >>
Imagine Little Tokyo Short Story Contest V >>
Imagine Little Tokyo Short Story Contest VI >> 
Imagine Little Tokyo Short Story Contest VII >>

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Mr. K

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 I came up to compare myself to him, I lost.

I stared out the cafe window, watching the growing crowd …

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Yuriko & Carlos

Little Tokyo, 1941 

As I walked toward Little Tokyo over the First Street Bridge from Boyle Heights, I felt the bracing power of the fiery sunset embrace me with more love than my own family gave me. The sky and the air filled me with hope, filled me with big dreams. My father only filled me with anger.

One day as I was leaving my job, I heard loud taiko drums and bamboo flutes wailing away outside a temple on First and Central. A group of dancers were dancing in a big circle when she suddenly appeared. She was wearing …

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Doka B-100

I would slowly make my journey each day along First Street from the Sun Building and each curb was becoming more of a challenge, as my limp seemed to be getting worse each year. It was the fall of 1954 in Nihonmachi of Los Angeles.

I would always end my walk at the cavernous opening of the Taul Building and there was always a boisterous greeting from “Horse” who had the shoeshine stand to the left. The “bookies” would be standing along the left wall reading the Daily Turf, as they sometimes took bets from stopping cars.

I would …

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