Japanese American National Museum
Events Calendar

Calendar of Events — January 2012

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, January 7, 2012
10:00 AM—2:00 PM

Graze Little Tokyo Walk

events/mochi100.jpg A food centric cultural exploration of the hidden corners of Little Tokyo. This walk provides opportunities to sample local Asian food from lotus root to pounded rice while learning about the history of the neighborhood.

$15 Members, $20 non-members, includes admission. Wear comfortable walking shoes.

Saturday, January 7, 2012
1:00 PM—2:00 PM

Exhibition Tour

events/commonground100_12.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, January 7, 2012
2:00 PM

Hito Hata: Raise the Banner (1980)


Location: David Henry Hwang Theater, Union Center for the Arts, 120 Judge John Aiso Street, Los Angeles

Admission is free!

Screening of a new 16mm print of this cinematic landmark, the first feature film produced by and about Asian Americans. Oda, an elderly bachelor living in Little Tokyo, chronicles the stories of the Japanese American community from the turn of the century to the 1970s. A Q&A with Director Robert A. Nakamura and John Esaki (co-writer) will follow the screening.

Co-presented by Los Angeles Filmforum and Visual Communications. Special thanks to the Academy Film Archive.

Sunday, January 8, 2012
11:00 AM—5:00 PM

Oshogatsu Family Festival

events/2012-Oshogatsu-Year-of-Dragon-100px.jpg FREE ADMISSION ALL DAY!

Ring in the New Year and the Year of the Dragon with fun arts ‘n crafts, food, and exciting cultural activities and performances.

11:00 AM – 5:00 PM: Craft and other fun activities for the entire family:

  • It’s the Year of the Dragon! Celebrate 2012 in style by constructing a dragon hat to wear.

  • Color and decorate a festive dragon streamer to wave in the New Year.

  • We need a hand! Help us build a dragon by adding a cutout of your hand to our wall. Throughout the day our dragon will grow and by the end we’ll have a fun and colorful creature made by all our JANM friends who came to help us celebrate Oshogatsu!

  • Toddler Room

  • Ruthie’s Origami Corner: Learn how to fold an origami dragon.

  • 11 AM - 3 PM: Learn how to make onigiri rice balls and enter the Onigiri contest. Sponsored by Common Grains

    11 AM – 5 PM: Special fukubukuro (lucky bag) store sale

    11 – 5 PM: Calling all kids, slay the dragon and jump in our dragon jumper!

    12 – 5 PM: Watch world-renowned candy artist Shaun Ichiyanagi make a dragon sculpture candy! (For children only. Candy Dragons will be raffled off at 4 PM)

    1 – 2 PM: Try osechi-ryori (Traditional Japanese New Year foods) (While supplies last. 1st come, 1st serve)

    1 – 4 PM: Have a balloon artist make a special pet dragon or dragon hat for you!

    1 – 5 PM: Zaru soba (buckwheat noodles) with Kidding Around the Kitchen.

    2 - 4 PM: Bring your camera and meet a real (costumed) dragon!

    4 PM: Three onigiri design winners will be announced. 100 of the top best entries will be on display after the selection is made.

    2:30 & 4 PM: Mochitsuki (traditional rice cake pounding ceremony) demonstration and performance by Kodama Taiko

    4:30 PM: Shi shi mai (traditional lion dance) and taiko performance by Kinnara Taiko

    This program is generously sponsored by Mitsubishi International Corporation, City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs, LA Country Arts Commission.

    Onigiri Contest
    Each contestant is given one cup of cooked rice to make onigiri. We will show you how to make onigiri and provide you with ingredients to decorate the onigiri. No other ingredients and tools other than what we provide you with can be used in the contest.

    If you are participating in the contest as a family, only one adult and one child can participate in each section.

    Time: 10 minutes is allowed for each contestant.

    How to enter: Sign up and enter on the day of the festival.

    The Jury will consist of Russ Parsons, Columnist for the Los Angeles Times, Lynn Chen, food blogger, Omusubi shop owner Keiko Nakashima, Sunny Blue.

    Six winners!

    Children's section: (must be under 18)
    1 Kawaii onigiri prize
    1 Happy onigiri prize
    1 Original onigiri prize

    Adult Section:
    1 Humorous onigiri prize
    1 Original onigiri prize
    1 Cool onigiri prize

    About: Common Grains is a Japanese food and culture project to promote and celebrate Japanese grains, featuring rice and soba (buckwheat) produced by Shinmei, leading Japanese rice miller with local food writer/cooking teacher Sonoko Sakai. They are offering Angelinos artisanal rice and soba workshops, rice exhibition, soba restaurant event,

    Shaun Ichiyanagi
    Candy Sculpting is an ancient Oriental folk art that originated in China and has been known in Japan for over 1000 years. A dying art, only a few performers exist in the world today.

    Utilizing old Japanese scissors, this World Renown artist can magically transform a block of molten corn syrup into a beautiful sculpture of almost any shape and size, in 4-5 minutes.

    For more information about, Mr. Ichiyanagi, visit:

    Kidding Around The Kitchen
    Kidding Around the Kitchen (KATK) brings a “hands on” cooking experience and lesson in which the kids actively participate in the preparation of recipes. The result of their cutting, measuring, cooking, and then eating their creations is more than simply a lesson in health. They get to see, touch, smell, and taste the fruits, vegetables, nuts, cheeses, eggs, meats, and other ingredients that they may never have previously seen in their raw form.

    For more information on Kidding Around the Kitchen, visit:

    Kodama Taiko
    Kodama is a group of percussionists from the greater Los Angeles area who are dedicated to performing both traditional and contemporary pieces through the sounds of taiko. The group is primarily composed of working professionals who enjoy spending their "off" time learning and creating entertaining performance pieces.

    Kodama is well known for their unique Mochitsuki (rice cake pounding) performance which combines the age-old tradition of hand-pounding mochi (sweet rice) with the sounds of taiko. This energetic custom is typically performed during the Japanese New Year's, but has lately been expanded to include any celebratory occasion. Makoto Fujii of the Japan based group Medetaya instructed Kodama in combining the art of taiko and Mochitsuki.

    For more information, visit:

    Kinnara Taiko was formed at Senshin Buddhist Temple in Los Angeles in 1969, the second such group in the America (San Francisco Taiko was founded in 1968). Kinnara was created as a way to express the group’s Buddhist beliefs through their performances. As a grassroots group, Kinnara literally built their own drums out of old wine barrels and wrote their own music which often articulated a Buddhist point of view.

    Under the direction of Rev. Masao Kodani, Kinnara also opened its practices up to interested visitors and even traveled around the country. The group was instrumental in helping other temples form their own taiko ensembles. Today, there are over 150 taiko groups in North America.

    Kinnara Taiko is known for performing the shi shi mai. Shi shi mai is the lion dance, used in olden times in Japan to scare pests away from crops or to ward off evil spirits. Regional variations use one, two or multi-person lions. As a New Year’s event, tradition states that if the shi shi mai bites you, you will have good luck the rest of the year.

    February 11: Ready, Set, Go! (Theme: Healthy Living)

    March 10: Folding Paper!

    April 14: Monster Mash!

    Sunday, January 15, 2012

    Exhibition Closing

    Desire for Magic: Patrick Nagatani 1978-2008 closes.

    In conjunction with the exhibition Desire for Magic: Patrick Nagatani
    Saturday, January 21, 2012
    11:00 AM—4:00 PM

    2 Day Workshop! Into the Blue- Indigo Dyeing Then and Now with Shibori Girl

    events/slow_cloth100.jpg January 21-22

    The color of sky and sea, indigo is a gift of nature nourished by earth and sun and rain. Indigo is among the oldest of textile dyes and has been used throughout the world. Today, most indigo dye is synthetic. Shibori Girl has worked with both natural and synthetic indigo. She has visited and worked with one of the few remaining ai-shi (indigo dyers) in Japan who uses traditional dye methods to produce contemporary works.

    DAY ONE will focus on vat preparation, general information and study of indigo shibori fabrics for design purposes. Afternoon will find us at the vats test dyeing various fabrics and preparing fabrics for the following day. There will be some homework- mainly stitching as you ready some fabrics for day 2.

    DAY TWO will be a full day of dyeing, wondering and learning at the edge of the vats.

    Aside from the experience, understanding and a bit of indigo practice, you will come away with a collection of indigo dyed fabrics in various solid shades, ombre dyed pieces, shibori and invented randomly patterned fabric. You will have the use of three different vats and a variety of fabric types including cottons, silks, hemp, bamboo, and linen-some new and some vintage. We will also dye some trims and ribbons...and of course some moons.

    $70 per day members; $90 per day non-members, an additional $45 materials fee (cash only) will be collected at the beginning of class, admission is included. RSVP early, 20 students max.

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

    Saturday, January 21, 2012
    2:00 PM—4:00 PM

    Twice Bombed

    events/twice_bombed100.jpg 'The bottom line is, there shouldn't be nuclear in our world'. On his 91st birthday, Tsutomu Yamaguchi said when asked about current nuclear power. He is a survivor of not one, but two atomic blasts at both Hiroshima and Nagasaki. While he has no physical scars from the attacks, his emotional scars run deep, as he lost his sons and his wife from the after-effects. The picture of the human Jigoku (hell) burned in the memory, he realized his experience 'needs to reach out to the world.' His quiet, but powerful words did just that, as the United Nations and Filmmaker James Cameron were moved by his message. This documentary chronicles Yamaguchi's passionate plea for peace and serves as a reminder of the very human side of an issue facing the world at large.

    Sunday, January 22, 2012
    2:00 PM—4:00 PM

    SPECIAL SCREENING: The California State University: Sharing and Celebrating Stories from Nisei Honorary Degree Recipients

    events/Calstate100.jpg Cal State honors Nisei with honorary degrees – see the video with their stories. 11 honorees/family members interviewed. George Takei provides the introduction, Bob Suzuki the narration.

    After the screening, there will be a panel discussion with:
  • Kazunori Katayama, one of the honorees (from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo)

  • Bob Suzuki, president emeritus, Cal Poly Pomona and the video’s narrator

  • Mitch Maki, provost at CSU Dominguez Hills and his daughter, Lane, who is featured in the video.

  • For more information, please visit:

    Tuesday, January 24, 2012
    7:00 PM

    Nobuko Miyamoto What Can a Song Do?

    Location: Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, 6522 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, 90028.

    Admission: General admission $10.00 / students $5.00 / FREE for LACE or JANM members. Tickets available at the door.

    Together with a group of guest musicians and activists from the 1960s/‘70s and the present, Miyamoto brings alive the dynamic moment when her 1973 album “A Grain of Sand: Music for the Struggle of Asians in America,” created a heartbeat for the Asian American Movement and shared rhythms with Black, Latino, and Native American cultural and political activists.

    Organized by: Japanese American National Museum and LACE.

    Saturday, January 28, 2012
    10:15 AM—12:15 PM

    Little Tokyo Walking Tour

    events/2007-07-28_walkingtour___15.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, January 28, 2012
    2:00 PM—4:00 PM

    Airborne Dreams: “Nisei” Stewardesses and Pan American World Airways by Christine R. Yano


    On October 13, 1955, Pan American World Airways stunned the commercial aviation industry by ordering the largest fleet of jet aircraft in the world, officially ushering in the Jet Age. In that same year, the airline embarked on a new personnel program, hiring Japanese American women to serve its Tokyo-bound and famed round-the-world flights. Although the airline claimed to hire these women to speak Japanese, in order to compete with Japan Air Lines which began international air travel in 1954, Yano’s analysis shows that beyond language, the women added the look of the exotic Asian woman. With Honolulu as their base, these women were informally dubbed Pan Am’s “Nisei” (second-generation Japanese American) stewardesses, even if not all of them were second-generation or Japanese American. Rather, by calling these women “Nisei,” Pan Am drew upon the cultural capital of Nisei war veterans and their minority patriotism. These women were among the first non-white stewardesses in Pan Am and other airlines’ employ. However this breaking of the racial barrier came not as a matter of civil rights, but as carefully drawn corporate strategy to expand Pan Am’s global domination utilizing some of the drawing power of the Asian woman.

    This talk analyzes Pan Am’s “Nisei” stewardess project from its inception in 1955 to 1972, when the women themselves instigated the end of their closed-base status in order to gain more employee rights. This study situates Pan Am’s “Nisei” stewardesses within an era of postwar American empire tied to newfound mobilities symbolized particularly by jets and Asian American women. Through interviews with the women and archival research, Yano juxtaposes Pan Am’s ambitions with individual aspirations and experiences. Yano argues that both share mutually constitutive “airborne dreams,” embedded within the nascent cosmopolitanisms of this frontier era known as the Jet Age.

    Pan Am’s “Nisei” stewardesses provide an important lens upon a particular period in American history filled with the complexities of assimilationist rhetoric and racialized hiring. Becoming corporate persons in a prestigious American company at the forefront of a global industry – in particular for Japanese Americans only ten years following the end of World War II – called upon assimilation within the gendered domain of “model minority” femininity and professionalism.

    Airborne Dreams is available to purchase from the Museum Store >>



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