Interrogation—Naomi Hirahara (Kickstarter)

big-bachi-kickstarter Who: Naomi Hirahara

What: Edgar Award-winning author of two mystery series set in Los Angeles. Her Mas Arai series, which features a Hiroshima survivor and gardener, has been translated into Japanese, Korean and French. Her Officer Ellie Rush bicycle cop series received the 2014 T. Jefferson Parker Mystery Award. She has also published noir short stories, middle-grade fiction and nonfiction books. The Kickstarter campaign for THE BIG BACHI ends this Friday, Nov. 4.

Where: Los Angeles

Interview conducted by email. Some questions and answers have been edited.

Congrats on the Kickstarter campaign to bring your beloved character, Mas Arai, to the big screen. Can you tell us how this all came about?

The cosmic intersection of multiple things. First, I was thinking of creating perhaps a web-based product — not for money or anything, just for fun. I was meeting more Japanese and Japanese American actors in their thirties and forties around L.A. and started thinking, what if Mas was younger? In the past, many of the actors who could play Mas were passing away and it was depressing. Depressing to lose such actors and depressing that it would be so difficult to realize this series in another medium like film. I then got connected with director Derek Shimoda several months after I had seen his documentary on a yakuza preacher and it turns out he and his creative partner, Mark Tasaka, had been talking about the Mas books and adapting SUMMER OF THE BIG BACHI. It was all very serendipitous. Derek brought in Oliver Ike, a film distributor, and Koji Saki, a producer and screenwriter, and we were off and running.

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