Miss Unity (First Runner-Up): Akemi Tsutsui
Miss Akemi Tsutsui, 19, is three-fourths Japanese-American; both of her parents are from Japan. Tsutsui put on a very fierce talent on the night of the finale show, portraying a strong, renaissance woman. She was able to showcase all of her talents in one segment. She is fine artist, opera singer and a karate student.
She said, “I felt that my talent went really well. I was able to express all my different talents in a single performance and everything was executed to the best of my ability.”
Tsutsui has practiced karate for 16 years, and she hopes to continue for years to come.
Don’t be fooled by her petite figure because she even placed Gold at the U.S. Open Karate tournament this May.
Her karate training has been under her father Sensei Isao Gary Tsutsui. Her family owns a dojo called Colorado Budokan in Denver. Tsutsui has learned a lot of values through karate. She has learned how to work hard and the concept of self-discipline; these are values she hopes to pass down to the youth. Her service project is to host karate field days for children.
As an only child, born and raised in Denver, she is currently studying at the University of Colorado Denver (CU-Denver) with a major in Fine Arts, but hopes to change it to Ethnic Studies with a minor in Fine Arts.
Tsutsui had originally been accepted to UC Irvine, where she planned to pursue Asian American Studies. Unfortunately, tuition costs were high, so she stayed in state, enrolling at CU-Denver to study fine arts.
“I went to CU-Denver to continue my art education previously from Denver School of Arts,” she said. Since CU-Denver recently opened up an Ethnic Studies major, Tsutsui can now pursue her original educational goals.
Tsutsui said, “I joined this program because I wanted to be more involved in Asian American community and services in Colorado… the program has exceeded my expectations because of what the girls [candidates] have been able to do and I have been able to make really good friends.”
When asked about how she felt winning the title, she said, “Miss Unity, I am greatly honored and privileged. I am very grateful to have gotten any title and to contribute to the Asian American community holding this title.”
Her plans for the future include educating the youth about karate and engaging in Asian American social issues through art.
“I want to continue my work as a fine artist with the view on Asian Americans and the Japanese community as a portrait artist and continue advancing the success of our dojo.”