Japanese American National Museum
Events Calendar

Calendar of Events — September 2015

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, September 5, 2015
1:00 PM

Common Ground Exhibition Tour


Tour the ongoing exhibition Common Ground: The Heart of Community with JANM’s knowledgeable docents.

Free with museum admission.

In conjunction with the exhibition Common Ground: The Heart of Community
Sunday, September 6, 2015

Exhibition Closing: Before They Were Heroes

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Exhibition Closing: Sugar/Islands

Wednesday, September 9, 2015
7:00 PM

Big Trouble in Little Tokyo presents The Motel


An underappreciated gem that premiered to strong reviews at the Sundance Film Festival, The Motel is the heartwarming story of an Asian American boy coming of age.

Thirteen-year-old Ernest Chin lives and works at an hourly-rate suburban motel. Alienated from his family, Ernest befriends Sam Kim, a troubled yet charismatic Korean man who checks in to the motel and teaches the fatherless boy the rites of manhood. This film is unrated.

This special 10th Anniversary screening will be followed by a panel discussion with Michael Kang (director/writer), Sung Kang (actor), Samantha Futerman (actor), Miguel Arteta (producer), and Gina Kwon (producer). There will be a cash bar reception at Far Bar after the program.

Pre-sale: $8 JANM and Visual Communications members, $10 general.
At the door (if available): $12 JANM and VC members, $15 general.

Big Trouble in Little Tokyo is a film series presented by JANM in partnership with Angry Asian Man, First Pond Entertainment, and Visual Communications.

Saturday, September 12, 2015
10:30 AM—11:45 AM

Harajuku Toy Fashion and Decoden Workshop


Inspired by the decoden accessories of Harajuku, this hands-on workshop will show you how to turn your childhood toys into fabulous fashionable accessories.

Led by YouTube personality and entertainment host Chrissa Sparkles with designer and host Jon Brence (KawaiiGuy), this workshop is a fun way to add some extra pizzazz to your wardrobe.

Please bring one toy to work with. $28 members, $35 non-members. Supplies and museum admission included. Limited to 20 participants.

Saturday, September 12, 2015
11:00 AM—3:30 PM

Discover Your Japanese American Roots


Explore your roots in this comprehensive workshop led by genealogy buff Chester Hashizume. Identify your ancestral Japanese hometown, uncover the meanings behind family crests and surnames, and learn about conducting research in Japan.

$44 members, $55 non-members. Supplies and museum admission included. Limited to 10 participants.

Saturday, September 12, 2015
2:00 PM

A Different Kind of Courage: The Disciplinary Barrack Boys of World War II


During WWII, 21 Nisei soldiers at Fort McClellan, Alabama, were charged with insubordination and dishonorably discharged from the U.S. Army. Some had been ordered, by officers with machine guns, into an airport hangar during President Roosevelt’s visit to their base at Fort Riley, Kansas.

These “disciplinary barrack boys,” who chose to speak out against the discrimination they faced, were imprisoned at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, for some two years. Not until after a Pentagon hearing 39 years later did the Army Board finally deem their confinement “an injustice.”

The little-known story of the disciplinary barrack boys (DB Boys) will be told by Linda Tamura, Sansei author of Nisei Soldiers Break Their Silence: Coming Home to Hood River. She will be joined by Paul Minerich, the attorney who worked on their case at the Pentagon, and Gary Itano, son of a DB Boy.

Free with museum admission. RSVPs are recommended using the link below.

Presented in partnership with Go For Broke National Education Center.

Friday, September 18, 2015
8:00 PM

Quetzal + TAIKOPROJECT in Concert


Friday, September 18 • 8 P.M.
Saturday, September 19 • 8 P.M.

Grammy-winning Chicano rock band Quetzal and internationally acclaimed TAIKOPROJECT join forces for two full-evening concerts in the heart of Little Tokyo.

Blending Quetzal’s soulful Son Jarocho (Mexican folk music from Veracruz) with TAIKOPROJECT’s powerful Japanese-style drumming, the two community-based musical icons mine common ground to create a new sound that is quintessentially LA.

$25 general. Limited number of discounted tickets available for JANM members; contact or 213.830.5646 to reserve yours.

Sponsored in part by the Ford Theatres, a program of the LA County Arts Commission.

Learn more about TAIKOPROJECT on Discover Nikkei.

Saturday, September 19, 2015
9:00 AM—12:00 PM

K-12 Teachers’ Workshop—Legacy Voices: The World War II Japanese American Experience

FREE for K-12 teachers

This unique professional development opportunity will explore the forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II through local and national stories. The training will focus on national civil rights hero Fred T. Korematsu, the “assembly centers” of California, and the personal accounts of those affected by the incarceration experience.

The workshop will also include a tour of JANM and a packet of lesson plans and classroom resources for elementary, middle, and high school students.

Space is limited. Click here to make a reservation.

Sponsored by the Japanese American National Museum, the Los Angeles County Office of Education, the Fred T. Korematsu Institute, the San Joaquin County Office of Education, and the National Park Service’s Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program.

Saturday, September 19, 2015
10:00 AM—2:00 PM

Edible Adventures: Graze Little Tokyo


Explore the hidden corners of Little Tokyo through its food. Meet the shop owners and hear stories of the neighborhood’s past while sampling Asian foods from pounded rice to lotus root.

$24 members; $30 non-members. Food and museum admission included. Limited to 15 participants. Wear comfortable walking shoes.

Saturday, September 19, 2015
2:00 PM

Writing Little Tokyo in Crime and Rhyme


The Japanese American experience, both past and present, is rarely tackled in mainstream literature. Two award-winning authors, mystery writer Naomi Hirahara (A Grave on Grand Avenue) and poet Amy Uyematsu (The Yellow Door), have incorporated both their ethnic heritage and a strong sense of place into their works.

Once members of the same writing group, Pacific Asian American Women Writers-West (PAAWW-W), these two women will discuss the various cultural and literary influences that have shaped their writing and their Japanese American identity. Excerpts from their most recent works will be read while images of people and places that have inspired their creative growth are shown. A signing will follow, with books available for purchase.

Free with museum admission. RSVPs are recommended using the link below.

Read about Amy Uyematsu and Naomi Hirahara on Discover Nikkei: A Poet, a Mystery Novelist, and Writing in Japanese America

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day Live!


Free admission to JANM all day!

In the spirit of the Smithsonian Museums, which offer free admission every day, JANM is participating in this year’s Museum Day Live. Admission will be free for all visitors.

Saturday, September 26, 2015
10:15 AM—12:15 PM

Little Tokyo Walking Tour


Relive history and learn about present-day Little Tokyo with JANM docents.

$12 members, $15 non-members. Museum admission included. Comfortable walking shoes recommended. Weather permitting.

Saturday, September 26, 2015
1:00 PM—3:00 PM

Nikkei Genealogical Society General Meeting



The mission of the Nikkei Genealogical Society (NikkeiGen) is to promote, encourage, and share Nikkei genealogy through education, research, and networking. NikkeiGen’s general meetings are open to anyone who is interested in researching their family trees, learning more about their Japanese roots and heritage, and participating in group discussions and networking. Meetings occur approximately monthly from January to October, with the location alternating between JANM and the Southern California Genealogical Society (SCGS) in Burbank.

Meetings are always free, but RSVP is required. To RSVP or for more information, email or visit the Facebook page at

Saturday, September 26, 2015
1:00 PM—3:00 PM

Origami with Ruthie Kitagawa: Kusudama


Learn how to make decorative kusudama (paper balls) for the upcoming holiday season.

$12 members, $15 non-members. Supplies and admission included. Limited to 10 participants.

Saturday, September 26, 2015
2:00 PM

Author Discussion—Japan: A Reverence for Beauty by Gil Garcetti



During more than 10 trips to Japan over a period of five years, author and photographer (and former Los Angeles County District Attorney) Gil Garcetti captured the stunning images reproduced in this limited edition, hardbound portfolio. The photographs are accompanied by illuminating essays, in both English and Japanese, from such noted authors as Pico Iyer, Kendall Brown, Hitoshi Abe, and Atsuko Tanaka.

Garcetti will discuss and sign his book, which will be available for purchase. This program is free, but RSVPs are recommended using the link below.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015
7:30 PM

East West Players: A Writers' Gallery Reading



In this edition of A Writer’s Gallery, East West Players presents a reading of Three Kingdoms, written by Anna Moench and directed by Jennifer Change.

It’s summer in the suburbs, and Wendy’s father, Han, is arriving on a flight from China. After 40 years of no contact, they have a lot of catching up to do. Wendy has a happy family, a lovely home, and is living the American dream. When Han arrives, however, everyone quickly realizes that picking up where they left off won’t be easy.

A multigenerational drama about the complexities of the Asian American experience, Three Kingdoms was the third place winner of East West Players’ 2042: See Change playwriting competition.



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