Japanese American National Museum
Events Calendar

Calendar of Events — August 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, August 1, 2009

Summer Film Festival: Big Drum: Taiko in the United States

events/big_drum100.gif To commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Frank H. Watase Media Arts Center, the National Museum will continuously screen Big Drum: Taiko in the United States.

Featuring America's pioneering taiko figures, this DVD documents the development of American taiko as presented in the National Museum's exhibition of the same name. It includes interviews and footage of drum-making and performances that reflect the ongoing transformation and diversification of this exciting performing art.

2 hrs

[Purchase a copy of Big Drum: Taiko in the United States at the Museum Store Online]

This special showing will be screened at the Terasaki Orientation Theater.
Saturday, August 1, 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.

Saturday, August 1, 2009
2:00 PM—4:00 PM

Frank H. Watase Media Arts Center Retrospective

events/janmlogow.jpg *Free
Join us for an enlightening conversation between filmmakers Justin Lin, Robert Nakamura, Karen Ishizuka and John Esaki on the past, present and future of Asian American film. They will show clips and discuss the history of the Asian American film movement, their work at JANM's Watase Media Arts Center, their filmmaking careers, and the future of Asian American film.

ROBERT NAKAMURA is a pioneering filmmaker and teacher, sometimes referred to as "the Godfather of Asian American media." In 1970 he co-founded Visual Communications (VC) the oldest community-based Asian Pacific American media arts organization in the United States.

Nakamura's personal documentary Manzanar (1972) revisited childhood memories of incarceration in an American concentration camp during World War II and has been selected for major retrospectives on the documentary form at the San Francisco Museum of Art and Film Forum, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. In 1980 he co-directed Hito Hata: Raise the Banner, considered to be one of the first Asian American feature films, produced by and about Asian Americans. He is the recipient of more than 30 national awards. In 1996 he founded the UCLA Center for EthnoCommunications where he serves as director and professor. In 1997, the Smithsonian Institution presented a retrospective of his work. Also that year he created (with Ishizuka) the Frank H. Watase Media Arts Center at the Japanese American National Museum. In 1999 he was named to the endowed chair in Japanese American studies at UCLA.

KAREN L. ISHIZUKA is an independent writer, video producer who has returned to complete a Ph.D. in anthropology. She has been a museum curator and media arts administrator and worked at the Japanese American National Museum for the first 15 years of its existence. Her films have been selected for the Sundance, Margaret Mead and Flaherty festivals. Her publications include Lost and Found: Reclaiming the Japanese American Incarceration (University of Illinois Press, 2006) and Mining the Home Movie: Excavations in Histories and Memories, co-editor (University of California Press, 2007). She has served on the National Film Preservation Board, been a Visiting Scholar at the Getty Research Institute, an Activist in Residence at Brown University and practices Bugaku, 8th century Japanese court dance. Her areas of interest are Asian America, specifically the early Asian American movement (ca 1968-1980); life history, autoethnography and community-based media.

JUSTIN LIN’S solo directorial debut, the critically acclaimed Better Luck Tomorrow, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and Paramount Classics/MTV Films picked up the film and released it in 2003. Renowned film critics including Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper listed Better Luck Tomorrow as one of the top five films of the year. With the success of Better Luck Tomorrow, Lin directed his second solo feature Annapolis, and shortly after directed Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift. Lin wrote and directed his third solo feature, Finishing The Game, premiering at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. Most recently he directed Fast & Furious, the fourth installment of the Fast and Furious franchise.

While at the National Museum, Justin worked on JANM classics such as J-Town Rhapsody, Interactions, and Crossover.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Summer Film Festival: Crossroads: Boyle Heights

events/boyle100.gif To commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Frank H. Watase Media Arts Center, the National Museum will continuously screen Crossroads: Boyle Heights.

This documentary was compiled from life histories of past and present neighborhood residents of Boyle Heights. It was originally produced for exhibition, BOYLE HEIGHTS: The Power of Place (2002), at the Japanese American National Museum.

55 min.

[Purchase a copy of Crossroads: Boyle Heights at the Museum Store Online]

This special showing will be screened at the Terasaki Orientation Theater.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
4:30 PM—5:30 PM

Hawai’i Member & Donor Appreciation Reception

JCCH Guided Tour of Okage Sama De–I am what I am Because of You

Reception featuring
Senator Daniel K. Inouye and Irene Hirano Inouye

Manoa Grand Ballroom, 5th Floor
Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai’i

2454 South Beretania Street, Honolulu
We are still accepting RSVPs, please call 808.748.8507.
$5 banquet parking.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Annual Nisei Week Festival

The 69th Nisei Week Japanese Festival, including Grand Parade, Street Fair and Street Ondo in Little Tokyo. For more information, please call 213.687.7193 or visit
Saturday, August 15, 2009
11:00 AM—4:00 PM

11th Annual Summer Festival on the Courtyard: Kaeru's Carnival

events/kaeru_wave_cmyk100.jpg FREE!

Celebrate summer at the National Museum with a day of fun carnival games, foods, crafts, and performances for the entire family.

*Museum Members get 5 free tickets!

All day craft activities:

  • Celebrate the exhibition Kokeshi: From Folk Toy to Art Toy and construct a kokeshi creation!

  • Inspired by the Japanese tradition of using paper lanterns in summer festivals, make a decorative paper lantern of your own.


    12 :00 – 4:00 PM – Get your face painted!

    2:00 PM – Learn about Taiko and how to hit the giant drums from Kyodo Taiko!

    3:00 PM – Enjoy a Special Kyodo Taiko performance!

    4:00 PM – Learn how to do an obon dance!

    4:30 PM – Come listen to the exciting sounds of Progressive Taiko!

    This program is sponsored in part by the generous support of the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs

    Help Support the Museum by buying a lunch! BBQ on the Courtyard. Plate lunch includes: BBQ top sirloin, baked beans, green salad, shrimp cocktail, and a drink. $10.00 presale/$12.50 on the day of. All proceeds will go to support the National Museum's programs. If interested, please contact Koji at

    Other Family Events at the National Museum

    August 29: Common Ground Tour for Families

    August 29: Taiko for Families

    September 12 – Target Family Free Saturday: Crafty!

    October 10 – Target Family Free Saturday: Toy Shoppe!

    October 10: A Special Reading of Be Water, My Friend by Ken Mochizuki

    October 17: Fall into JANM Comfort Foods Cooking Workshop

    November 14 – Target Family Free Saturday: Merry Melodies

    December 5: Winter Family Breakfast Feast Cooking Workshop>

    December 12 – Target Family Free Saturday: Let's Celebrate!

  • Thursday, August 20, 2009
    7:00 PM—10:00 PM

    Bringing the Circle Together:In Search of History: Navajo Code Talkers

    events/100colorturtlesmall______________.jpg Free Screening of In Search of History: Navajo Code Talkers

    Generously donated by the History Channel, this film examines how Indigenous troops used their Native language to contribute to one of the most vital roles in both World Wars. This film focuses on the Navajo Code Talkers, and will include a walkthrough of the exhibit Fighting For Democracy where Carl Gorman, a Navajo Code Talker, is honored. Special guests Karina Dominguez will open the screening with poetry and Zonnie Gorman, daughter of Carl Gorman and sister of Navajo artist RC Gorman, will be traveling from New Mexico to speak with us after the screening. Zonnie Gorman is a recognized historian on the Navajo Code Talkers. You do not want to miss this incredible evening!

    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, August 29, 2009

    Public Opening and Signing with Mike Shinoda

    Free Admission
    8 - 10 PM

    Help us celebrate the opening of Mike Shinoda Glorious Excess (Dies).

    Mike Shinoda will be signing from 8 to 10 PM

    Please Note:
    * No RSVPs accepted
    * Admission based on a first come, first served basis
    * Maximum occupancy will be strictly enforced

    Saturday, August 29, 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, August 29, 2009
    2:00 PM—3:00 PM

    Common Ground Tour for Families

    In conjunction with the exhibition Common Ground: The Heart of Community
    Sunday, August 30, 2009

    Exhibition Opening

    Mike Shinoda Glorious Excess (Dies) opens.
    Sunday, August 30, 2009
    2:00 PM—4:00 PM

    FOR MEMBERS ONLY: A Conversation with Mike Shinoda


    $40.00 per person

    Join other JANM members for this special and intimate event as he discusses Glorious Excess and engages in a dialogue about his art. Signing to follow.

    This ticketed event is open to Japanese American National Museum members only. Tickets will go on sale on-line only Tuesday, August 18, 2009, at 10:00 AM, PST. Limit two tickets per membership; space is limited.

    Visit for details >>



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