'As I peek out from behind the curtain of the Cherry Blossom Queen Pageant stage, I can feel the noise and excitement levels rising. The queen pageant candidates giggle nervously behind me and one slips her hand into mine asking me in a whisper, “How do I look? Do I look okay?” I produce a compact mirror for her to check her “Japanese up hair do,” which is thickly padded with cotton and heavily adorned with bells and birds to complement her kimono. She wets her finger and draws it carefully over the front of her hair and then her eyebrows to mat them down so they won’t stick out and will look smooth and sleek. ‘There!’ we both say in unison and we are ready to begin the beauty pageant to see who will represent the Japanese American community as the Cherry Blossom Queen (excerpt from field notes San Francisco, 1996).'
Read King-O’Riain, Rebecca Chiyoko. 2017. “Cherry Blossom Dreams: Racial Eligibility Rules, Hapas and Japanese American Beauty Pageants” in Duncan Ryuken Williams (ed) Hapa Japan: Constructing Global Mixed Race and Mixed Roots Japanese Identities and Representations. Pasadena, CA: University of Southern California Press.