JANUARY 27, 2015
By J.K. YAMAMOTO, Rafu Staff Writer

As part of the 75th anniversary celebration of the Nisei Week Japanese Festival, the Nisei Week Foundation held its first bowling tournament on Jan. 18 at the X Lanes in Little Tokyo with more than 200 people attending.

Co-chaired by Lauren Kinkade-Wong (2001 Nisei Week Queen) and Silvia Yoshimizu-Yee (2001 First Princess), the tournament was part of a series of Nisei Week events planned this year.

Girls Junior Winner Torri Yoshida (Courtesy Nisei Week Bowling Tournament Committee)

Girls Junior winner Torri Yoshida (Courtesy Nisei Week Bowling Tournament Committee)

Proceeds from the tournament — more than $12,000 — will go to the Nisei Week Foundation and to an annual scholarship awarded by the Japanese American Women’s Giving Circle, a subcommittee of the foundation, to a young woman who has demonstrated a commitment to philanthropy and service for the Japanese American community.

The tournament was dedicated to Robert Chun, better known as Uncle Bobby, a long-time Nisei Week Foundation board member, who passed away on Jan. 10 at the age of 84. He and his wife Marian established the Hospitality Committee and were instrumental in developing relationships with the Hawaii Cherry Blossom Festival, Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival, Japanese Queen Scholarship Organization of Washington, and community queen programs in Chicago and New York.

Following the Junior Tournament for bowlers 18 years old and under, the Adult Tournament started with a “First Bowl” by distinguished community members:

• Actors Aaron Takahashi, Rodney Kageyama and Chris Tashima

• 2014 Nisei Week Queen Tori Nishinaka-Leon, First Princess Lindsey Sugimoto, Miss Tomodachi Ashley Arikawa, Princess Tiffany Hashimoto, Princess Melissa Kozono and Princess Dominique Mashburn

• 1975 Nisei Week Queen Dulcie Ogi Kawata, representing the Nikkei Women Legacy Association

• Jamie Hagiya, former USC basketball star, Miss Tomodachi of the 2010 Nisei Week Court, and CrossFit competitor

• 97.1 AMP Radio DJ Seena Akita, First Princess of the 2007 Northern California Cherry Blossom Court

Boys Junior winner Ashton Wong (Courtesy of Jay Ng)

Boys Junior winner Ashton Wong (Courtesy of Jay Ng)

• LAPD Deputy Chief Terry Hara, Nisei Week Foundation president

• Ellen Endo, president of the Little Tokyo Business Association

• Joyce Nakashima, president of the Japanese American Optimist Club

• Vicky Tsuda-Murakami, communications production manager for the Japanese American National Museum

• Bill Seki, board chairman of Go For Broke National Education Center

• Mike Murase, director of service programs for the Little Tokyo Service Center

• Shin Ito, director of Asians for Miracle Marrow Matches•

• Yoshio Lee Aoki, president of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Southern California

• Kimberly Hayashi, president of Cold Tofu Improv

• Mickie Okamoto-Tsudama, board chair of Kizuna

Seena Akita, 97.1 AMP Radio DJ and 2007 Northern California Cherry Blossom First Princess.

Seena Akita, 97.1 AMP Radio DJ and 2007 Northern California Cherry Blossom First Princess.

• Alan Miyatake, owner and photographer of Toyo Miyatake Studios

• Brandon Uchimura, president of USC Nikkei Student Union

Teams represented various community organizations. The bowlers had different levels of experience, with some getting mostly strikes and spares and others mostly gutterballs, but a good time was had by all.