Japanese American National Museum
Events Calendar

Calendar of Events — September 2011

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 3, 2011
1:00 PM—2:00 PM

Exhibition Tour

events/commonground100_8.png Tour our ongoing exhibition Common Ground: The Heart of Community with experienced docents.

In conjunction with the exhibition Common Ground: The Heart of Community
Saturday, September 10, 2011
11:00 AM—2:00 PM

Introduction to Soba Making with Sonoko Sakai

events/sobasabaki100_1.jpg Make your own soba entirely by hand, using fresh, stone-milled artisanal soba flour from Japan and authentic soba tools. The soba will be served in the classic way: cold with fresh soy-based dipping sauce, toppings, and spices.

Wear closed-toe shoes with soft soles. Bring an apron and a tupperware container to take home your soba. $75 members; $85 non-members. Includes admission and supplies. RSVP early, 12 participants max.

For more information about Sonoko Sakai and her other workshops, visit

Saturday, September 10, 2011
2:00 PM—4:00 PM

Hiroshima in the Morning by Rahna Reiko Rizzuto

events/Hiroshima100_1.jpg In June 2001, Rahna Reiko Rizzuto went to Hiroshima, Japan, in search of a deeper understanding of her war-torn heritage. She planned to spend six months there, interviewing the few remaining survivors of the atomic bomb. A mother of two young boys, she was encouraged to go by her husband, who quickly became disenchanted by her absence. It was her first solo life adventure, immediately exhilarating for her, but her research began badly. Interviews with the hibakusha felt rehearsed, and the survivors revealed little beyond published accounts. Then the attacks on September 11 changed everything. The survivors’ carefully constructed memories shattered, causing them to relive their agonizing experiences and to open up to Rizzuto in astonishing ways.

Separated from her family and country while the world seemed to fall apart, Rizzuto’s marriage crumbled as she wrestled with her ambivalence about being a wife and mother. Woven into the story of her own awakening are the stories of Hiroshima in the survivors’ own words. The parallel narratives explore the role of memory in our lives, and show how memory is not history but a story we tell ourselves to explain who we are.

Hiroshima in the Morning is a National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist, and winner of the Grub Street National Book Award. It has been called " lyrical and moving, transcendent and beautiful" (NBCC Nomination). Grace Talusan, Judge for the Grub Street Award said, "Using diary entries, emails, telephone transcripts, and oral histories, Rizzuto pieces together a masterful collage about Hiroshima, 9/11, ambivalent motherhood, a doomed marriage, and a writer trying to understand what narrative means amidst so many kinds of bombs hitting so many beloved targets.”

Rizzuto has appeared on The Today Show, The View, The Joy Behar Show, MSNBC, and Gayle King Radio among others and writes for Salon and the Huffington Post. Her first novel, Why She Left Us, which won an American Book Award, was inspired by her family's internment at Amache during World War II and more than thirty interviews with former internees. She is a Professor in the Goddard College Master's in Creative Writing Program, and can be found at:
Sunday, September 11, 2011

Exhibition Closing

Year of the Labbit Custom Show closes.

In conjunction with the exhibition Year of the Labbit Custom Show
Thursday, September 15, 2011
8:00 PM—10:00 PM

Surrogate Valentine-- Los Angeles Premiere + Goh Nakamura Live!

events/203550_240209816013632_4566470_n.jpg See a Los Angeles Sneak Preview of "Surrogate Valentine," with the director and cast in attendance! Show opens with live music from Goh Nakamura, and a Q and A to follow the screening.

Tickets $12 in advance, $15 at the door. On sale soon at (check back here for updates).

Co-presented by the Japanese American National Museum, Giant Robot and Poketo.

Saturday, September 17, 2011
1:00 PM—4:00 PM

Shibori Workshop with Indigo

events/Shibori100_1.jpg Back from a month long trip to Japan to further Shibori Girl's study of silk, shibori, and indigo she has some great new stories and samples to share with you in addition to a wonderful little video presentation of the Arimatsu Shibori Festival. Yes! An annual festival devoted to shibori, past and present! She will also do some stitching (let's shibori stitch a dragonfly and drop it in the indigo vat), see some new techniques demonstrated with some new shibori tools she acquired in Arimatsu and try your hand at some of them on cotton and silk. She'll also bring the Colorhue dyes for some silk itajime. A fast and fun three hours! She will also bring a small trunk show of her work to sell. Past students welcome- each class offers something new! Come dressed in studio attire, bring rubber gloves, scissors, a sewing needle and a love of Japan Blue!

$35 members; $45 non-members, an additional $25 materials fee (cash only) will be collected at the beginning of class, admission is included. RSVP early, 20 participants max.

For more information about Shibori Girl or to see some of her work, go to

Saturday, September 17, 2011
2:00 PM—4:00 PM

Drawing from Memory by Allen Say


This is Allen Say’s own story of his path to becoming the renowned artist he is today. Shunned by his father, who didn’t understand his son’s artistic leanings, Allen was embraced by Noro Shinpei, Japan’s leading cartoonist and the man he came to love as his “spiritual father.” Part memoir, part graphic novel, part narrative history, Drawing from Memory presents a complex look at the real-life relationship between mentor and student. It is a book that will inspire the artist in all of us.

Come hear Allen Say in a conversation with John Mason of Scholastic Books about his early ambition to become a cartoonist and how his sensei helped him to become a fine artist.

SPECIAL EVENT ADDED—September 17 & 18! Some of the original artwork for this book will be on display for two days only!

Sunday, September 18, 2011
2:00 PM—4:00 PM

Wellness as a Global Solution: A Look at Keiro's Future & 50 Years of Enhancing the Quality of Senior Life in our Community

events/keiro_logo_100.jpg With one in five individuals over 65, the Japanese American community foreshadows what the rest of the nation will experience in 2050. Learn about how Keiro Senior HealthCare serves as a model of care for a healthy community and how this affects you now, whatever your age! 2011 is the 50th anniversary of Keiro Senior HealthCare, a not-for-profit organization providing culturally-sensitive and person-centered senior services.

Featured speakers include Keiro Senior HealthCare staff and volunteer coaches. Program moderated by Naomi Hirahara.

Saturday, September 24, 2011
9:00 AM—12:00 PM

Honor Thy Children by Al and Jane Nakatani

events/JaneAl_Rocky_Guy100.jpg FREE!

Al and Jane Nakatani, presently living in Maui, lost all three of their sons. In their book, Honor Thy Children, they tell the story of how two died of AIDS, and the other was murdered. They will relate their inspiring story of reconciliation.

Saturday, September 24, 2011
10:00 AM—3:00 PM

Boyle Heights Metro Tour

events/boyle__heights100.jpg Explore Little Tokyo’s neighbor to the east on a Metro Gold Line/walking tour of Boyle Heights. Learn about the area’s rich history as a home to immigrants—Jewish, Japanese Americans, up through the Latinos of today.

$15 Members; $20 non-members, includes admission. This tour involves approximately two miles of walking. Please wear suitable footwear. Maximum: 20 guests.

Saturday, September 24, 2011
10:15 AM—12:15 PM

Little Tokyo Walking Tour

events/2007-07-28_walkingtour___9.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 24, 2011
1:00 PM—3:00 PM

Craft Class with Ruthie Kitagawa: Halloween & Thanksgiving Cards

events/crafts-workshops-icon-purple-green-70px_3.jpg Make Halloween and Thanksgiving Day greeting cards for your friends and family. $9 members; $14 non-members, includes admission and supplies.

Saturday, September 24, 2011
2:00 PM—4:00 PM

Becoming American? The Art and Identity Crisis of Yasuo Kuniyoshi by Shipu Wang

events/wangBecoming100.jpg "A few short days has changed my status in this country, although I myself have not changed at all."

On December 8, 1941, artist Yasuo Kuniyoshi (1889-1953) awoke to find himself branded an "enemy alien" by the U.S. government in the aftermath of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. The historical crisis forced Kuniyoshi, an émigré Japanese with a distinguished career in American art, to rethink his pictorial strategies and to confront questions of loyalty, assimilation, national and racial identity that he had carefully avoided in his prewar art. As an immigrant who had proclaimed himself to be as "American as the next fellow," the realization of his now fractured and precarious status catalyzed the development of an emphatic and conscious identity construct that would underlie Kuniyoshi’s art and public image for the remainder of his life.

Drawing on previously unexamined primary sources, Becoming American? is the first scholarly book in over two decades to offer an in-depth and critical analysis of Yasuo Kuniyoshi’s pivotal works, including his "anti-Japan" posters and radio broadcasts for U.S. propaganda, and his coded and increasingly enigmatic paintings, within their historical contexts. Through the prism of an identity crisis, the book examines Kuniyoshi’s imagery and writings as vital means for him to engage, albeit often reluctantly and ambivalently, in discussions about American democracy and ideals at a time when racial and national origins were grounds for mass incarceration and discrimination. It is also among the first scholarly studies to investigate the activities of Americans of Japanese descent outside the internment camps and the intense pressures with which they had to deal in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor.

As an art historical book, Becoming American? foregrounds broader historical debates of what constituted American art, a central preoccupation of Kuniyoshi’s artistic milieu. It illuminates the complicating factors of race, diasporas, and ideology in the construction of an American cultural identity. Timely and provocative, the book historicizes and elucidates the ways in which "minority" artists have been, and continue to be, both championed and marginalized for their cultural and ethnic "difference" within the twentieth-century American art canon.



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