Naomi Hirahara


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Naomi was born and raised in Pasadena, California.  She received her bachelor's degree in international relations from Stanford University and studied at the Inter-University Center for Advanced Japanese Language Studies in Tokyo.  She was a reporter and editor of The Rafu Shimpo during the culmination of the redress and reparations movement for Japanese Americans who were forcibly removed from their homes during World War II.  During her tenure as editor, the newspaper published a highly-acclaimed inter-ethnic relations series after the L.A. riots.

Naomi left the newspaper in 1996 to serve as a Milton Center Fellow in creative writing at Newman University in Wichita, Kansas.

After returning to Southern California in 1997, she began to edit, publish, and write books.  She authored two biographies for the Japanese American National Museum; compiled a reference book, Distinguished Asian American Business Leaders (2003); co-authored Silent Scars of Healing Hands: Oral Histories of Japanese American Doctors in World War II Detention Camps (2004); and has her own small press, Midori Books.


  • Literature: Summer of the Big Bachi, Naomi's first mystery, was a finalist for Barbara Kingsolver's Bellwether Prize and nominated for a Macavity mystery award.
  • Literature: Created a book for the Southern California Flower Growers, Inc., A Scent of Flowers: The History of the Southern California Flower Market, under her own small press.
  • Literature: Co-authored Terminal Island: Lost Communities of Los Angeles Harbor, which has been called "so beautiful, so emotional, and so true, that this single volume will forever be the definitive story of a place whose details only a few Angelenos can remember."


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