Naomi Hirahara is an award-winning author of multiple traditional mystery series and noir short stories. Her Mas Arai mysteries, which have been published in Japanese, Korean and French, feature a Los Angeles gardener and Hiroshima survivor who solves crimes. The third Mas Arai mystery, Snakeskin Shamisen (Delta) which was set in Gardena and Torrance, won an Edgar Award for best paperback original, while the seventh and final Mas Arai mystery, Hiroshima Boy (Prospect Park Books), was nominated for the same award. Her first historical mystery is Clark and Division, (Soho Press) which follows a Japanese American family’s move to Chicago in 1944 after being released from a California wartime detention center. Her second Leilani Santiago Hawai‘i mystery, An Eternal Lei (Prospect Park Books), is scheduled to be released in 2022.
A former journalist with The Rafu Shimpo, she has also written numerous nonfiction books and curated exhibitions. Such works include Green Makers: Japanese Americans in Southern California (Southern California Gardeners Federation); A Scent of Flowers: The History of the Southern California Flower Market (Midori Press); Terminal Island: Lost Communities of Los Angeles Harbor (Angel City Press), co-written by Geraldine Knatz; and Life after Manzanar (Heyday), co-written by Heather C. Lindquist. She has also written a middle-grade novel, 1001 Cranes (Delacorte), which is set in Gardena. She and her husband make their home in Pasadena.