Japanese American National Museum
Events Calendar

Calendar of Events — May 2009

All programs are free for JANM members and included with admission for non-members, unless otherwise noted. Events are subject to change.

Reservations are recommended for most programs; you may use the links below. You may also RSVP by emailing or calling 213.625.0414 at least 48 hours in advance. Please indicate the name, date, and time of the program, as well as your name and the number of people in your party. (RSVPs are not accepted for Family Festivals).

For all ticketed events (classes, workshops, food tours, etc.), pre-payment is required to hold your space. Cancellations must be made 48 hours in advance or no refund will be issued.

Saturday, May 2, 2009
1:00 PM—2:00 PM

Exhibition Tour

events/commonground100________.png Tour our ongoing exhibition Common Ground: Heart of a Community with experienced docents.

In conjunction with the exhibition Common Ground: The Heart of Community
Saturday, May 2, 2009
1:00 PM—5:00 PM

Imagined Futures

events/imaginedfutureslogo100.jpg The Aratani Endowed Chair, University of California Los Angeles, and the Japanese American National Museum present:

Imagined Futures
Saturday, May 2, 2009
1-5 pm

Free! Pre-Registration is required.

What does the future hold for the Japanese American and Asian Pacific American communities?
What is the role of the young artist in defining our community’s future?
What opportunities and challenges do young artists face?

Imagined Futures is a one-day conference designed to help the up-and-coming artists of all disciplines start to think about these and other pertinent questions. It is an opportunity to learn from already established and successful artists and to network with other JA and APA artists in the LA community.

1-2 pm Welcome
NSU Modern
• Welcome: Dr. Lane Hirabayashi (George & Sakaye Aratani Professor of the Japanese American Internment, Redress and Community, Asian American Studies, UCLA), Koji Steven Sakai (Japanese American National Museum),
and Emily Morishima (PhD Candidate, UCLA English)
• Keynote Addresses:
Eric Nakamura of Giant Robot
George Takei, actor

2-4 pm Hands-on Workshop Sessions:
• Filmmaking with director/writer/producer Quentin Lee
• Anime/Comics with the author of the biweekly column “Asian Pop” for the San Francisco Chronicle, Jeff Yang
• Blogs/New Media with Phil Yu of Angry Asian Man
• Spoken Word/Hip Hop with LA hip-hop sensation Shin-B
• Fiction with award winning writer, Naomi Hirahara
• The Art and Business of Clothes with Ryan Suda of Blacklava

4-5 pm Closing Remarks and Reception with Light Refreshments

To register or for more information about the program join the Imagined Futures Conference Facebook page, email, or call the museum at 213-625-0414.

Saturday, May 2, 2009
2:00 PM—4:00 PM

Southwest Chamber Music: Music Unwrapped Free Family Concerts

events/toru_takemitsu100.jpg Music Unwrapped Free Family Concerts: Free of charge, and lots of fun, Music Unwrapped is the ideal way for the family to spend a Saturday morning learning about a wide variety of great music.

The Music of Toru Takemitsu
Our season ends with a series of concerts in collaboration with the Shumei Arts Council celebrating its 10th anniversary. Confronting Silence: the Music of Toru Takemitsu will include films, symposiums and discussions with Takemitsu’s niece and nephew Haruno Kira and Kouji Shitara. Toru Takemitsu was one of Japan’s most famous velebrities and one of the major composers of the 20th century. His career was inspired by everything from traditional Japanese folk music, classic western pop-melodies, electronic sounds, and the natural world. Also a well-known film composer, Takemitsu collaborated and took influence from artist contemporaries around the world.

Other Family Events at the National Museum

June 6: Kidding Around in the Kitchen Family Cooking Adventure: Beat the June Gloom

June 13 – Target Family Free Saturday: Try this on for Size!

July 11 – Target Family Free Saturday: Books Galore!

August 15: Summer Festival on the Courtyard

August 29: Common Ground Tour for Families

August 29: Taiko for Families

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Asian Pacific Film Festival

The Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, set for April 30 through May 7, 2009, is an annual production of Visual Communications, the nation’s premier Asian Pacific American media arts center. The National Museum and the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy are honored to support their efforts by hosting programs that explores the diversity of the Asian American experience.

The Film Festival's NCPD slate includes a highly-anticipated afternoon program of innovative video works by seniors from Little Tokyo's DISKovery Center; and a special evening retrospective screening of favorites from Visual Communications' groundbreaking Armed With a Camera Fellowship, complete with artists from the past seven cycles in attendance. A complete program schedule, including the detailed program line-up of Festival programs at the NCPD will be available starting early April. For tickets and program information, please visit

Thursday, May 7, 2009
7:00 PM—10:00 PM

Bringing the Circle Together: Walk Like a Warrior: The Apache Skateboard Story

events/100colorturtlesmall____________.jpg Free Screening of The Apache Skateboard Story

'Walk Like a Warrior' unveils the entrepreneurial spirit of a Native owned and operated skateboard company on the Apache Reservation. 'Walk Like a Warrior' represents Native pride, history and culture in a unique, bold and innovative way. With the help of skateboarding, the Apache Skateboards crew rolls right past tired cliches, stereotypes and myths about Native Americans in the 21st Century. Poet Mark Gonzales will begin the evening with poetry, and Douglas Miles, founder of Apache Skateboards, will speak after the screening!

Bringing the Circle Together: A Native American Film Series

Bringing the Circle Together: A Native American Film Series is a FREE monthly film series located in downtown Los Angeles at the National Center for Preservation of Democracy. The film series was established to provide quality documentaries by and about Indigenous people of the Americas, and bring together a central gathering place where discussion and awareness of issues can be shared with the Native community and its supporters.

The film series is held at the National Center for Preservation of Democracy located at 111 North Central Avenue, between 1st Street and Central Avenue, in downtown Los Angeles. The NCPD can be reached via train, bus, or parking in the area (pdf for directions). Doors open at 6:30pm.

The film series is hosted by Lorin Morgan-Richards and Tahesha Knapp-Christensen and is sponsored by the following organizations:

The Japanese American National Museum
The National Center for Preservation of Democracy
Hecho de Mano
Nahui Ohlin
InterTribal Entertainment

For more information about the film series please visit
or by email at

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Member Appreciation Days!



Cultural Stimulus Package

Some of the Southland’s finest cultural institutions have joined together to create a special event for those who support their institutions by being members. May MADness. (Member Appreciation Days) allows the card-carrying members of various Southern California museums and other cultural institutions to enjoy free admission and a 20% discount in the stores. This year there are 12 participating entities from the Orange County Museum of Art to the J.Paul Getty Museum.

It is a chance for the supporters of many valued organizations to enjoy the cornucopia of culture that exists in Southern California, and to shop for original gifts. If you are not already a member of one of these institutions, become one now and stimulate your mind AND the economy!

In the never-ending competition for leisure-time attention, cultural institutions often face the daunting task of attracting visitors armed with the smallest marketing budgets (if they have any at all). Yet, they provide some of the most unique experiences with the added potential of imparting a lasting social impact on their audiences. To maximize their resources, non-profit organizations, unlike many for-profit enterprises, often band together to support one another rather than compete.

Not a current member? Join or renew your membership online to receive your member discount on any purchases made on the same order.

For more details and to view a list of participating organizations, visit

Saturday, May 9, 2009
11:00 AM—4:00 PM

Target Free Family Saturday: Aloha!

events/2007-07-14_TargetLogo_________.JPG * FREE ALL DAY

Enjoy a day of family fun that explores shared traditions within the Asian American community. May’s theme is Hawai‘i.

Generously sponsored by Target, these special Saturdays are filled with fun activities giving families unique ways to learn, play, and grow together.

All day craft activities:
  • Learn how to fold an origami Aloha shirt.

  • Create a lei to wear or share!

  • Shave ice is a favorite treat in Hawaii. Construct your own “shave ice” artwork out of tissue paper.

  • Ruthie’s Origami Corner: Celebrate the moms in your life by making a ladybug Mother’s Day card

  • 11 AM – Doors open

    11:15 AM – Ukulele Workshop with Michelle Kiba (30 min, max 10 children, 7 or older please)

    12 PM – Hula Workshop with Michelle Kiba (45 min)

    1 PM – Special Aloha Café food tasting

    2 PM – Ukulele Workshop with Michelle Kiba (30 min, max 10 children, 7 or older please)

    3 PM – A special Ukulele performance by Michelle Kiba

    4 PM – Doors close


    Aloha Café
    We invite you to Aloha Café to experience the dishes of the many ethnic cultures of Hawaii. We are dedicated to serving the best in island-style food and promoting the “Aloha Spirit.” Bring your family and friends to share the experience of Aloha Café.

    Aloha Café is located only a couple of blocks from the museum at 410 E. 2nd St. For more information, please visit their website at:

    Michelle Kiba - Ukulele Lady, Santa Cruz, CA
    Michelle's ability to think big has resulted in an amazing career as a full time ukulele entertainer, recording artist, music educator and music therapist. Michelle first embarked on a creative path as a visual artist, in graphic design. Michelle became a certified nursing assistant, earned a teaching credential, and eventually took a job as an Activity Director. It was through her work that Michelle's inner performer found an unlikely outlet.

    "Sometimes a I was still just learning how to play the ukulele. But the seniors were so appreciative and I discovered the ukulele was a great reminiscence tool. My friendly little instrument and music started many fun topics of discussion. The seniors were particularly fond of Hawaiian music so I taught them wheel chair hula. Other activity directors started offering to pay me to come and play for their seniors too. It wasn't long before my day job got in the way of a very unexpected career path. It’s incredibly heartwarming to watch my listener’s faces light up or sometimes becoming teary-eyed, as I sing love songs or tunes from their pasts. I see many of my clients weekly and over the years they have become my adopted kupuna, (beloved aunties and uncles)."

    As a music therapist, the Ukulele Lady, engages up to 50 solo visits every month at healthcare centers, convalescent hospitals, retirement homes, mental health facilities, and Alzheimer's units in Central California. In her role as a Music Instructor, Michelle directs the Pa Mele 'O Hokulea Ukulele Academy (Song of the Morning Star) meeting weekly in San Jose and Santa Cruz. "Most of my students play the ukulele for personal recreation. I like to encourage them to share their music so we occasionally perform at festivals, community centers and at local nursing homes. "Public performances are our way of giving back to the community and pushes us forward to improve our skills, and it's fun for all of us,” explains Michelle. Her artistry as a dynamic entertainer is richly complemented by her Tiki Tones, all girl band, featuring singer songwriters Ellen Silva and Mimi Hills. Michelle's charming reputation has quickly reached wider audiences resulting in bigger and better gigs. In March 2002, she released her debut CD, "Under A Ukulele Moon", on her own Big Ideas label. The CD was quickly picked up by the Ukulele Hall of Fame, Jumpin' Jim Beloff's Flea Market Music, and voted Best Studio CD by a Solo Artist by the Naked Uke E-zine. Michelle newest release is a strum along songbook with a companion CD titled, "My Dog Has Fleas", December 2003. Michelle Kiba and her Aloha Style Band members expect to release their next CD, "Reflections of Aloha", in April 2004.

    Michelle has shared the stage with Na Hoku Award winners and Dancing Cat recording artists Daniel Ho, George Kahumoku Jr. and Keoki Kahumoku. She has also appeared with her personal ukulele heroes, Ukulele Dick, Oliver Brown, Jumpin' Jim Beloff, Janet Klein, Peggy Reza (Auntie Uke) and Petty & Booka from Tokyo. In August 2003, Michelle was invited to teach a workshop and perform at the 2003 Ukulele Hall Fame, Providence Rhode Island. For more info, visit:

    2009 Target Free Family Saturday schedule

    June 13 – Try this on for Size!

    July 11 – Books Galore!

    Other Family Events at the National Museum

    June 6: Kidding Around in the Kitchen Family Cooking Adventure: Beat the June Gloom

    August 15: Summer Festival on the Courtyard

    August 29: Common Ground Tour for Families

    August 29: Taiko for Families

    Saturday, May 9, 2009
    2:00 PM—4:00 PM

    Kokomo Joe by John Christgau


    John Christgau will be signing his book Kokomo Joe, which is about the first Japanese American jockey in the United States.

    The first Japanese American jockey, Kokomo Joe burst like a comet on the American horse-racing scene in the summer of 1941. As war with Japan loomed, Yoshio “Kokomo Joe” Kobuki won race after race, stirring passions far beyond merely the envy and antagonism of other jockeys. His is a story of the American dream catapulting headlong into the nightmare of a nation gripped by wartime hysteria and xenophobia. The story that unfolds in Kokomo Joe is at once inspiring, deeply sad, and richly ironic—and remarkably relevant in our own climate of nationalist fervor and racial profiling.

    Sent to Japan from Washington State after his mother and three siblings died of the Spanish flu, Kobuki continued to nurse his dream of the American good life. Because of his small stature, his ambition steered him to a future as a star jockey. John Christgau narrates Kobuki’s rise from lowly stable boy to reigning star at California fairs and in the bush leagues. He describes how, at the height of the jockey’s fame, even his flight into the Sonora Desert could not protect him from the government’s espionage and sabotage dragnet. And finally he recounts how, after three years of internment, Kokomo Joe tried to reclaim his racing success, only to fall victim to still-rampant racism, a career-ending injury, and cancer.

    John Christgau, a retired English instructor and lecturer, is the author of many books, including The Gambler and the Bug Boy: 1939 Los Angeles and the Untold Story of a Horse Racing Fix (Nebraska 2007) and Tricksters in the Madhouse: Lakers vs. Globetrotters, 1948, available in a Bison Books edition.

    Click here to listen to John Christgau talk about Kokomo Joe on NPR

    Purchase a copy of the book from the Museum Store Online >>

    Saturday, May 23, 2009
    2:00 PM—4:00 PM

    Wolfhound Samurai by Vincent Okamoto


    In honor of Memorial Day, please join us for a panel discussion on Americans of Japanese Ancestry (AJA) Vietnam Veterans; moderated by Vincent H. Okamoto. This is the first time a panel on the longest most controversial war has been assembled from the perspective of AJA’s. Following the discussion, Vincent H. Okamoto will autograph his first published novel, “Wolfhound Samurai”

    Our panelists include:
    Kenneth Hayashi - Logistical Services
    David Miyoshi - Marine
    Jerry Yamamoto - Stateside service
    Lawrence Takahashi - combat veteran
    Gary Hayakawa, paratrooper

    Presented in collaboration with JA Living Legacy.

    Purchase copies of this book at the Museum Store Online >>

    Sunday, May 24, 2009


    Gokurosama: Contemporary Photographs of the Nisei in Hawai‘I closes.

    Sunday, May 24, 2009
    2:00 PM—4:00 PM

    Shibori Workshop with Yoshiko Akane

    Learn the ancient Japanese art of colorful shibori dyeing with Yoshiko Akane. $10 National Museum Members; $15 non-members, includes materials and Museum admission.

    Saturday, May 30, 2009
    10:00 AM—4:00 PM

    Friends of the Museum: Kokoro Craft Affair

    events/kokoro_craft_logo100.jpg Come to a showcase and sale of unique, high quality, handcrafted items in a wide range of prices. Crafts for sale include: Contemporary Kokeshi Art - Jewelry - Purses - Woodcraft - Origami art - Kimono Fabric Clothing - Paintings - Ceramics - Cultural T-Shirts - Floral Art - Glass Art, and More!

    Admission to the Boutique is FREE. A portion of the profits will support the National Museum's educational programs & outreach. For more information: 213/ 625-0414 Ext. 2222 or

    Saturday, May 30, 2009
    10:15 AM—12:15 PM

    Little Tokyo Walking Tour

    events/2007-07-28_walkingtour_______________.jpg Relive history and learn about present-day Little Tokyo with National Museum docents. $9 Members; $14 non-members, includes Museum admission. Comfortable walking shoes and clothes recommended. Weather permitting.

    Saturday, May 30, 2009
    6:30 PM—10:00 PM

    Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology

    events/SI_LOCKED_FINAL_COVER100.jpg FREE!

    Asian Americans have become a driving force in the contemporary comics renaissance, as artists, writers—and fans.

    But there's one place where Asians are still underrepresented in comics: Between the four-color covers themselves.

    That's why, in Secret Identities, top Asian American writers, artists and comics professionals have come together to create 26 original stories centered around Asian American Superheroes; stories set in a shadow history of our country, from the opening of the West to the election of the first minority president, and exploring ordinary Asian American life from a decidedly extraordinary perspective.

    Join the editors:
    *JEFF YANG, founder of the pioneering Asian American periodical "aMagazine" and author of the biweekly column "Asian Pop" for the San Francisco Chronicle
    *PARRY SHEN, best known for his lead role in the movie "Better Luck Tomorrow"
    *KEITH CHOW, freelance writer and comics-in-education specialist.
    *JERRY MA, the founder of the indie comics studio Epic Proportions

    --along with several contributors as they share previews of their respective stories through slide shows and video trailers. Make sure to stay to celebrate the LA premier!

    Copies of SECRET IDENTITIES will be on hand for purchase and will be signed by the editors/contributors during the reception afterwards.

    Notable contributors:

    *Greg Pak: (writer of “Planet Hulk”, “World War Hulk”, “Skaar – Son of Hulk”)
    *Bernard Chang: (artist on “Iron Man” and “Wonder Woman”)
    *Francis Tsai: (artist on “Marvel Comics Presents” and “Heroes for Hire”)
    *Greg LaRocque: (artist on “Marvel Team Up” and “The Flash”)
    *Sonny Liew: (Image’s “Liquid City” Anthology)
    *Kazu Kibuishi: (editor of Image’s “Flight” anthology)
    *Christine Norrie: (creator of “Breaking Up”)
    *Tak Toyoshima: (creator of first Asian American strip for United Feature Syndicate: “Secret Asian Man”)
    *Cliff Chiang: (artist on “Green Arrow/Black Canary” for DC Comics)
    *Dustin Nguyen: (artist on “Detective Comics” for DC Comics)

    *Jamie Ford: (“Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” from Ballantine/Random House)
    *Gene Yang: (“American Born Chinese” - National Book Award finalist, Best Book of the Year: Publisher’s Weekly, San Francisco Chronicle, School Library Journal,, NPR Holiday pick, 2007 Michael L. Printz Award winner)

    *Mike Kang: (director of “The Motel” and “West 32nd”)
    *Lynn Chen: (actress from “Saving Face” and “Lakeview Terrace”)
    *Keiko Agena: (actress from “Gilmore Girls” and “Major Movie Star”)
    *Yul Kwon: (winner of “Survivor: Cook Islands”)
    *Leonardo Nam: (actor from “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants”)
    *Sung Kang: (actor from “Better Luck Tomorrow” and “Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift”)
    *Kelly Hu: (actress from “X2: X-Men United” and “The Mummy Returns”)
    *Dustin Tri Nguyen: (actor from “21 Jump Street” and “Finishing the Game”)

    To view the official trailer, go to SI Official Trailer

    Purchase copies of the book at the Museum Store Online >>

    Sunday, May 31, 2009
    2:00 PM—5:00 PM

    Voice Circle Workshop with Yoko Fujimoto

    "There are many ‘hearts’ within each of us, and each one holds a different voice. The day I realized that my voice didn’t have to be high or loud or large was the day I began to sing in my own way, and the beginning of a new path towards personal freedom of expression. The "Voice Circle" is a workshop I designed in order to share this joy with as many people as possible." -Yoko Fujimoto

    Objectives of workshop:
    1) Exploring the pronunciation and vocalization of the Japanese language
    2) An introduction to various Japanese scales and some songs that use these scales.

    With these two objectives in mind, using kakegoe (stylized shouting), vocalization exercises and children's songs, participants will become more familiar with the Japanese language and Japanese songs. The traditional Ainu song "Yaisama" will be the basis for many of the challenging "games" we will play as we explore the beauty and resonance of the voice.

    $35 Members; $40 non-members, includes Museum admission. To RSVP, call 213-625-0414 ext.2313 or by emailing and putting Voice Circle Workshop in the header.



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