8th Annual Imagine Little Tokyo Short Story Contest

Each year, the Little Tokyo Historical Society’s Imagine Little Tokyo Short Story Contest heightens awareness of Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo by challenging both new and experienced writers to write a story that showcases familiarity with the neighborhood and the people in it. Writers from three categories, Adult, Youth, and Japanese language, weave fictional stories set in the past, present, or future. On May 23, 2021 in a virtual celebration moderated by Michael Palma, noted theatre artists, Greg Watanabe, Jully Lee, and Eiji Inoue performed dramatic readings of each winning entry.


*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 >>
5th Annual Imagine Little Tokyo Short Story Contest >>
6th Annual Imagine Little Tokyo Short Story Contest >>
7th Annual Imagine Little Tokyo Short Story Contest >>

community en

Little Tokyo, A.C.

Your daddy’s religion was Worry. Never one to call upon any God for any reason, he chose to bear the weight of everything—especially the fear of uncertainty—upon no one other than himself. But in those tender, terrifying seconds between your mama’s contractions, he felt an instinctual, perhaps primitive-like urge to pray. He reassured your mama he’d be right back before hurrying out onto the balcony. He clutched the railing and took deep breaths of dry, summer air. He gazed down at the orange glow of the San Fernando Valley on a busy Saturday night. Motors revving, sirens screaming, people rushing …

continue a ler

community en ja

Little Tokyo: City of Regeneration

22nd Century, Little Tokyo.

Looking up at the falling snowflakes, I put my coat collar up and breathed into my hands.

Some time ago, Tokio had told me that a century ago, it would have never snowed like this. Tokio is an AI that works at the Koban police box. Ever since this city decided to coexist with AI, Tokio seems to have been keeping an eye out on even the trivial of crimes to protect the safety of this city. At human age, Tokio should have already reached Kiju (age 77), but Tokio’s appearance was the same as mine …

continue a ler

community en

Race Queen of Little Tokyo


May Tomita was embarrassed. Her dad is a Kibei gardener and would always pick her up in his beat up truck at Carson High School, with the lawnmower, edger and other dirty garden tools still in the truck bed. Compared to the Cadillacs and Buicks that parents drive to pick up their kids, her dad’s Ford Courier was a pile of heap that even junkyards would reject. She’d ignore the truck, walk past her father, as he drives alongside her. He yells in Japanese, “Get in the goddamn truck!”

But today May was really pissed. She saw her boyfriend …

continue a ler

community en

Mochi Wishes

On the day of the Tanabata Festival, the summer sun cast rays of golden light onto the streets of Little Tokyo. The sizzling smell of yakisoba cooking in stalls around the corner taunted Yuki Clearwater. At fifteen years old, Yuki felt a bit too old for the festivities—or at least that is what she told herself. She knew how important the Tanabata Festival was to her family’s shop Usagi Mochi, which sat on East First Street for generations.

The amount of customers in the shop had slowed to a trickle in recent years and the wrinkles on her father’s forehead …

continue a ler

community en

The Creatures of Little Tokyo

Thistle sat and watched people eat mochi ice cream from a tree. She was in the James Irvine Garden, and all the lanterns were glowing particularly bright this evening. Of all the places in Los Angeles, the garden here in Little Tokyo was her favorite place, especially during this time of year when the sound of drums hummed through the streets and children twirled in colorful clothing.

When Thistle, the small fox squirrel, first arrived in Little Tokyo, she watched as a little girl danced, the patterns on her kimono swirled to the rhythm of the song. Thistle didn’t know …

continue a ler


fiction future imagine little tokyo Imagine Little Tokyo little tokyo Little Tokyo short story contest tanabata