Japanese American National Museum
Events Calendar

Calendar of Events — September 2010

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.

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, September 4, 2010
1:00 PM—3:00 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, September 11, 2010
2:00 PM—4:00 PM

Poetry Reading and Slides of Art Quilts: What Remains: Japanese Americans in Internment Camps

events/What_Remains_Web100.jpg Margaret Chula and Cathy Erickson make the concentration camp experience come alive in their seven-year collaborative project joining poetry and quilts. Margaret's original poems, diaries, and letters in the voices of people in the camps describe the hardships and emotions they experienced. Cathy has transformed personal stories into quilts through fabric, design, and color. Their presentation shows how two art forms can enhance and enrich each other.

The artists will also talk about the inspirations for their work, including interviews with Japanese Americans, photographs from the collections of Dorothea Lange and Ansel Adams, autobiographies by internees, and pilgrimages to the camps.

There will be a book signing and light reception after the program.

About the Artists:
Margaret Chula, an internationally known haiku poet, lived in Kyoto Japan for 12 years where she taught creative writing at Doshisha Women’s University. Her six collections of poetry include Grinding my ink, which received the Haiku Society of America’s Book Award. Grants from Oregon Literary Arts and the Regional Arts & Culture Council have supported programs with artists, musicians, photographers and dancers.

Cathy Erickson has been making traditional and art style quilts since 1996. In 2002 she started collaborating with Margaret Chula on quilts and poetry inspired by the Japanese American internment. Cathy has exhibited in art galleries, university galleries, museums, and at local, regional, and national quilt shows.

For more information about Margaret Chula and to read poems from What Remains, visit For more information about Cathy Erickson or to see her quilts, visit

[Purchase a copy of What Remains: Japanese Americans in Internment Camps at the Museum Store Online]

Sunday, September 12, 2010
2:00 PM—4:00 PM

Wherever There’s a Fight by Elaine Elinson and Stan Yogi

events/WTHEcover_100.jpg State and federal constitutions spell out many liberties and rights, but it is people who challenge prejudice and discrimination and transform those lofty ideals into practical realities. In the era of the Patriot Act and polarizing issues such as immigration reform and gay marriage, an appreciation for and defense of civil liberties is as important as ever.

Wherever There’s a Fight captures the sweeping story of how freedom and equality have grown in California, from the gold rush right up to the precarious post-9/11 era. The book tells the often hidden stories of brave individuals who have stood up for their rights in the face of social hostility, physical violence, economic hardship, and political stonewalling. It connects the experiences of early Chinese immigrants subjected to discriminatory laws to those of professionals who challenged McCarthyism and those of people who have fought to gain equal rights in California schools: people of color, people with disabilities, and people standing up for their religious freedom. Elinson and Yogi also follow the ongoing struggles for workers’ rights and same-sex marriage. And they bring a special focus to the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans, including the infamous Korematsu decision, which was foreshadowed by a century of civil liberties violations and reverberates in issues we continue to grapple with today: dissent, racism, immigration, and the meaning of national security.

Join the authors for a virtual tour of significant sites in Southern California in civil rights history.

About the Authors:
Elaine Elinson was the communications director of the ACLU of Northern California and editor of the ACLU News for more than two decades. She is a coauthor of Development Debacle: The World Bank in the Philippines, which was banned by the Marcos regime. Her articles have been published in the Los Angeles Daily Journal, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Nation, Poets and Writers, and numerous other periodicals. She is married to journalist Rene CiriaCruz and they have one son.

Stan Yogi has managed development programs for the ACLU of Northern California since 1997. He is the coeditor of two books, Highway 99: A Literary Journey through California's Great Central Valley and Asian American Literature: An Annotated Bibliography. His work has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, MELUS, Los Angeles Daily Journal, and several anthologies. He is married to nonprofit administrator David Carroll and lives in Oakland.

Saturday, September 18, 2010
10:30 AM—4:30 PM

Discovering Your Japanese American Roots

Instructor Chester Hashizume leads a comprehensive workshop covering genealogy basics such as getting started, identifying your ancestral Japanese home town, obtaining and utilizing family documents, and determining the meaning behind surnames and family crests--all the tools you need to discover your roots. This intensive session includes a one-hour break.

$45 for members and $55 for non-members, includes materials and Museum admission.

Saturday, September 18, 2010
2:00 PM—4:00 PM

I Hotel by Karen Tei Yamashita

events/tn9781566892391.jpg Dazzling and ambitious, this hip, multi-voiced fusion of prose, playwriting, graphic art, and philosophy spins an epic tale of America's struggle for civil rights as it played out in San Francisco's Chinatown. Divided into ten novellas, one for each year, I HOTEL begins in 1968, when Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy were assassinated, students took to the streets, the Vietnam War raged, and cities burned. As Karen Yamashita's motley cast of students, laborers, artists, revolutionaries, and provocateurs make their way through the history of the day, they become caught in a riptide of politics and passion, clashing ideologies and personal turmoil. And by the time the survivors unite to save the International Hotel--epicenter of the Yellow Power Movement--their stories have come to define the very heart of the American experience.

There will be a book signing after the program.

About the Author:
Heralded as a "big talent" by the Los Angeles Times>/i> and praised by Newsday for "[wrestling] with profound philosophical and social issues" while delivering an "immensely entertaining story," Karen Yamashita is the recipient of an American Book Award and the Janet Heidinger Kafka Award. A California native who has also lived in Brazil and Japan, she teaches at the University of California-Santa Cruz, where she received the Chancellor's Award for Diversity in 2009.

Saturday, September 18, 2010
6:00 PM—10:00 PM

In Collaboration with Bringing The Circle Together and The National Center for the Preservation of Democracy: A Free Screening of Ixoq

Ixoq documents the struggles of women during the armed conflict as well as their current efforts to build an inclusive society where they can participate. Mayan musical guests Princesas del Mundo Maya, will begin the night, and following the film Felipe Perez (the filmmaker) and IxchelMultimedia (producer) will speak about the film.

Sponsors for the night include Hecho de Mano Mayan Culture, Japanese American National Museum, Bird man Pet Shop, Department of Cultural Affairs.

Background, Guatemala, a country where wealth has historically been held in the hands of a small number of families, has been governed by one set of descendents of the Spaniards one after another. Yet the majority Mayan population, in different eras and under varying conditions, has risen up to change this situation of slavery and poverty. The Mayans survived the first holocaust of our history. But in the late 1970s, when Guatemala’s armed opposition took root in Mayan territory, an extermination policy was unleashed. Referred to as the second holocaust, it had atrocities that reached alarming levels towards the end of the last century, as the country’s 36-year civil war drew to a close (1960-1996). Official statistics record 626 massacres, including 440 Mayan communities wiped off the map, the death of more than 200,000 persons, and the disappearance of another 450,000. 50,000 widows and 500,000 orphans were left behind, and more than one million human beings were displaced. Mayan peoples accounted for 83% of the fully identified victims.

The current situation for the Mayan peoples shows little progress. 48% of the Mayan population over the age of 15 is illiterate. 51% of the Guatemalan population is female. Illiteracy among Mayan women is 76%. On an average, Mayan women who are able to read and write have only one year of schooling. Each year 100,000 Mayan children enter the labor force, 56.4% of whom are between the age of 5 and 14.

Sponsors for the night include Hecho de Mano Mayan Culture, Japanese American National Museum, Bird man Pet Shop, Department of Cultural Affairs.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
2:00 PM—4:00 PM

Angel Island: Immigrant Gateway to America by Erika Lee and Judy Yung

events/Angel_Island._Book_cover100.jpg From 1910 to 1940, over half a million people sailed through the Golden Gate, hoping to start a new life in America. But they did not all disembark in San Francisco; instead, most were ferried across the bay to the Angel Island Immigration Station. For many, this was the real gateway to the United States. For others, it was a prison and their final destination, before being sent home.

In Angel Island: Immigrant Gateway to America, historians Erika Lee and Judy Yung provide the first comprehensive history of the Angel Island Immigration Station. Drawing on extensive new research, including immigration records, oral histories, and inscriptions on the barrack walls, the authors produce a sweeping yet intensely personal history of Chinese “paper sons,” Japanese picture brides, Korean students, South Asian political activists, Russian and Jewish refugees, Mexican families, Filipino repatriates, and many others from around the world.

There will be a book signing after the program.

Friday, September 24, 2010
5:30 PM—5:00 PM

HEART MOUNTAIN, WYOMING: Removal, Resettlement, Redress, and Reflections: A Community Conference

Friday, September 24, 5:30 PM - 8 PM
Saturday, September 25, 7:30 AM - 5:00 PM
$20 general; $15 members, students and those who were in camp.

A multi-generation, community-oriented gathering of those who were in and those who are interested in the WRA camp at Heart Mountain WY, and its short and long-term impact.

Friday panels on Japanese American confinement, and terminology of the 1940s Japanese American experience in camp

Saturday panels on Ht Mt, an overview; personal perspectives; questions of loyalty; resettlement; and, Family/Generations/Recollections: An intergenerational dialogue

Limited to 250 persons

Co-sponsored by the Heart Mountain, WY Foundation; the Aratani Endowed Chair, UCLA; the Japanese American National Museum

Saturday, September 25, 2010
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, September 25, 2010
1:00 PM—3:00 PM

Craft Class with Ruthie Kitagawa: Autumn and Thanksgiving Cards

events/autumn_card1100.jpg Make autumn and Thanksgiving inspired cards for your friends and family. $9 members; $14 non-members, includes admission and supplies.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Exhibition Closing

Please Note: This show has been extended two weeks! Mixed will now be closing on October 17.

MIXED: Portraits of Multiracial Kids by Kip Fulbeck closes.

In conjunction with the exhibition Mixed: Portraits of Multiracial Kids by Kip Fulbeck
Sunday, September 26, 2010
2:00 PM—4:00 PM

Blue Skies and Thunder: Farm Boy, Pilot, Inventor, TSA Officer, And WWII Soldier Of The 442nd Regimental Combat Team by Virgil Westdale and Stephanie A. Gerdes

events/BlueSkies100.gif In 1942, Virgil Westdale was a successful young flight instructor when the government ousted him from the Air Corps and demoted him to army private. Having grown up as a Japanese American midwestern farm boy, Westdale (a hapa) had his first taste of Japanese culture when he was sent to train with the all Japanese American unit, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. He was ultimately transferred to the 522nd Artillery Battalion, where, as a member of the Fire Direction Center, he helped push the Germans out of Italy, rescue the "Lost Battalion" in France, and free prisoners from Dachau Death Camp in Germany.

After the war, Westdale went on to pursue a career in research and development with large corporations. He received 25 U.S. patents and earned an international award for his work with photocopier components. In retirement, he has been working for the TSA, returning to the worlds of aviation and national security.

Written for the lay reader as well as the history buff, Westdale's stories of World War II challenge preconceived notions of what we think we know about a soldier's life in Europe and offer images that go beyond the history books.

There will be a book signing after the program.

About the Authors
The son of a Caucasian mother and Japanese father, Virgil W. Westdale was born in 1918 and grew up on a midwestern farm. After the war, he obtained two university degrees and received 25 patents for his work as a scientist in research and development. He lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan and enjoys tap and ballroom dancing.

Stephanie A. Gerdes teaches third grade in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She received her bachelor's degree from Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois and her master's degree in reading and language arts. She is active in her church, teaches piano, and enjoys history, reading, cultural events, and ballroom dancing.



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