Japanese American National Museum
Events Calendar

Calendar of Events — February 2019

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, February 2, 2019

13th Annual Museums Free-for-All



In an effort to make museums available to the broadest possible audience, JANM joins with more than 30 other regional museums in offering free admission on this day. Please note that RSVPs are strongly encouraged at the link below.

Those who RSVP and show their ticket at JANM on Free-for-All day will be entered into a drawing for a one-year JANM family/dual level membership.

For a complete list of participating institutions, visit

Saturday, February 2, 2019
1:00 PM

Common Ground Exhibition Tour


Take a tour of JANM’s core exhibition with our knowledgeable docents. This is a great opportunity for first-time visitors, long-time museum members, and everyone in between.

Included with museum admission.

In conjunction with the exhibition Common Ground: The Heart of Community
Saturday, February 2, 2019
1:00 PM—2:00 PM

Members Only Meet-and-Greet with Frank Abe and Greg Robinson


All members are invited to this exclusive reception with Frank Abe and Greg Robinson, editors of John Okada: The Life and Rediscovered Work of the Author of No-No Boy, prior to the discussion about the book at 2 p.m.

Space is limited. RSVP by January 29 using the link below. You can also contact or 213.830.5646.

Saturday, February 2, 2019
2:00 PM

Author Discussion—John Okada: The Life and Rediscovered Work of the Author of No-No Boy



Join us for the Los Angeles launch of the book John Okada: The Life and Rediscovered Work of the Author of No-No Boy.

John Okada’s only published work, No-No Boy, is about a Japanese American who refuses to fight for the country that incarcerated him and his people in World War II. When released in 1957, the novel languished in obscurity until it was rediscovered and reissued in 1976 to become a celebrated classic of American literature.

Frank Abe, a journalist and producer of the PBS documentary Conscience and the Constitution, and Greg Robinson, professor of history at Université du Québec a Montréal, edited John Okada (with Floyd Cheung) and will be on hand to discuss the first full-length examination of Okada’s development as a writer. Moderating the discussion will be Brian Niiya, Content Director of, an organization whose mission is to preserve the testimonies of Japanese Americans who were unjustly incarcerated during World War II.

Book signing to follow. John Okada is available at the JANM Store.

If you RSVP’d, we recommend you arrive early. Seats are first come, first serve. Doors open at 1:30 p.m. There will be a stand-by line starting at 1:15 p.m. Unclaimed seats will be released at 1:50 p.m.

Learn more about John Okada and the book on Discover Nikkei (No-No Boy Author John Okada, Rediscovered”) and the JANM blog (“The Impact of John Okada on American Literature”).


Also on February 2, JANM is participating in the 14th Annual Museums Free-for-All day. If you would like to view our exhibitions in addition to attending the author discussion, please also RSVP using this link for free admission that day.

In the Tateuchi Democracy Forum

Sunday, February 3, 2019
11:30 AM

Common Ground Exhibition Tour in Japanese




In conjunction with the exhibition Common Ground: The Heart of Community
Saturday, February 9, 2019
10:30 AM

Members Only Exhibition Tour: Gambatte!


Gambatte! Legacy of an Enduring Spirit features contemporary photos taken by Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Paul Kitagaki Jr. of Japanese Americans who were forcibly removed and incarcerated during WWII displayed next to images shot 75 years ago by such noted photographers as Dorothea Lange, Ansel Adams, and others; each pairing features the same individuals or their direct descendants as the subject matter.

Join Paul Kitagaki Jr. for a gallery tour during which he’ll discuss his project. Limited to 25 participants.

RSVP by February 5 using the link below. You can also contact or 213.830.5646.

In conjunction with the exhibition Gambatte! Legacy of an Enduring Spirit
Saturday, February 9, 2019
11:00 AM—4:00 PM

Two-Day Jewelry Workshop: The Wonderful World of Washi


Saturday–Sunday, February 9–10
11 a.m.–4 p.m.

Come explore the new possibilities of Japanese washi paper with Reiko Nakano. Our main project will be a washi/commercial beaded necklace integrated into a metal chain via looping and wrapping. The second project will be a washi wrapped metal bracelet.

Please bring sharp scissors, a shoebox for supplies, a snack, and a desire to learn. Additional materials provided. $64 members, $80 non-members, plus $20 materials fee due to the instructor at the beginning of class (cash only). Museum admission included. Limited to 12 participants.

In the Nancy K. Araki Community Education Center

Saturday, February 9, 2019
1:00 PM

Members Only Meet-and-Greet with Paul Kitagaki Jr.


All members are invited to this exclusive reception with Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Paul Kitagaki Jr. prior to the panel discussion at 2 p.m.

Space is limited. RSVP by February 5 using the link below. You can also contact or 213.830.5646.

In conjunction with the exhibition Gambatte! Legacy of an Enduring Spirit
Saturday, February 9, 2019
2:00 PM

Panel Discussion—Gambatte! Legacy of an Enduring Spirit


Paul Kitagaki Jr., photographer of Gambatte! Legacy of an Enduring Spirit, will discuss his creative process, stories about the images, and the effects this project has had on those both behind and in front of the camera. He will be joined by Mason Tachibana and Junzo Jake Ohara, who were photographed as part of the project. The discussion is followed by an audience Q&A.

Included with museum admission. RSVPs are recommended using the link below. Please check back for updates.

Please note that the book will not be available until April.

Read our interview with Paul Kitagaki Jr. about Gambatte! on Discover Nikkei.

In the Tateuchi Democracy Forum

In conjunction with the exhibition Gambatte! Legacy of an Enduring Spirit
Saturday, February 16, 2019
2:00 PM

2019 Los Angeles Day of Remembrance—Behind Barbed Wire: Keeping Children Safe and Families Together


If you missed the program, you can watch it online on JANM’s YouTube channel.

Download the program booklet (PDF)



On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which led to the exclusion and incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. Families of Japanese ancestry were removed from the West Coast based solely on their nation of origin and veiled under the guise of national security. While behind barbed wire, keeping the family together and safe was of utmost importance to the incarcerees.

Today, also under the guise of national security, migrants from Central America are similarly being held in detention centers. Young children have been torn from their parents as they sought safety and asylum in the United States. Just like Japanese immigrants before WWII, these migrants dream of a decent life for their family and safety for their children. The legacy from the Japanese American redress movement is to make sure we stand up and speak out when we witness people being treated inhumanely by our government as we were during WWII.

Please join us for the 2019 Los Angeles Day of Remembrance as we honor and remember those who were incarcerated during World War II and address our theme, Behind Barbed Wire: Keeping Children Safe and Families Together, exploring the racist parallels of past and present.

Admission to this event and the museum are both pay-what-you-wish on this day. RSVPs for the Day of Remembrance program are strongly encouraged.

Presented in partnership with Go For Broke National Education Center, Japanese American Citizens League–Pacific Southwest District, Japanese American Cultural & Community Center, Kizuna, Manzanar Committee, Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress, Nikkei Progressives, Organization of Chinese Americans–Greater Los Angeles, and Progressive Asian Network for Action (PANA).


In the George & Sakaye Aratani Central Hall

Saturday, February 23, 2019
10:15 AM—12:15 PM

Little Tokyo Walking Tour


Learn about past and present-day Little Tokyo on a walking tour led by an in-the-know JANM docent. From murals to monuments, explore both the popular and lesser-known gems of this bustling neighborhood.

$12 members, $15 non-members. Museum admission included. Comfortable walking shoes recommended. Weather permitting. Limited to 20 participants.

Saturday, February 23, 2019
1:00 PM—3:00 PM

Nikkei Genealogical Society General Meeting


The Nikkei Genealogical Society (NikkeiGen) promotes, encourages, and shares 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 once a month from January to October, with the location alternating between JANM and the Southern California Genealogical Society (SCGS) in Burbank.

The meeting is included with museum admission. RSVP is required.

To RSVP or for more information, email or visit the Facebook page at Limited to 35 participants.

In the Koichi & Toyo Nerio Education Center

Saturday, February 23, 2019
2:00 PM

Author Discussion—American Sutra by Duncan Williams


American Sutra: A Story of Faith and Freedom in the Second World War by Duncan Williams


Duncan Ryuken Williams, a Soto Zen Buddhist priest and Director of the USC Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture, will speak about his new book, American Sutra: A Story of Faith and Freedom During the Second World War (Harvard University Press, February 2019), about the Japanese American Buddhist experience in the WWII incarceration camps.

Williams will explore questions of faith, identity, and resilience in the face of dislocation, loss, and uncertainty. He will also focus on the importance of upholding bedrock American values—religious freedom, tolerance, social and racial justice, and civil liberties—in our historical moment. His presentation will be followed by comments and discussion with Brian Niiya (Content Director, Densho), Naomi Hirahara (award-winning author and historian), and Valerie Matsumoto (UCLA Aratani Chair on the Japanese American Incarceration, Redress, and Community).

Reception and book signing will follow. This program is free, but RSVPs are recommended using the link below.

Presented in partnership with USC Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture.

American Sutra will be available for purchase at the program and at the JANM Store in mid/late March.

In the Tateuchi Democracy Forum

Sunday, February 24, 2019
10:00 AM—2:00 PM

Edible Adventures: Vegetarian Little Tokyo


Take a healthy stroll through Little Tokyo and listen to neighborhood stories while learning about Japanese vegetables from daikon to gobo to maitake, capped off by a macrobiotic lunch at Shojin, a Japanese vegan/macrobiotic restaurant.

$48 members; $60 non-members. Food and museum admission included. Limited to 14 participants.

Read a 2013 JANM blog post about a past Vegetarian Edible Adventure.

Thursday, February 28, 2019
7:30 PM

ZÓCALO—Is the Digital Age Making Museums Obsolete?


A Zócalo/Natural History Museum of Los Angeles Event at JANM’s National Center for the Preservation of Democracy

Moderated by Gregory Rodriguez, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, Zócalo Public Square

Before the digital age, museums were places where people went to acquire knowledge. But now most of the information and images contained in museums are available on your smartphone. So how can museums stave off obsolescence? Can populist shows and attention-getting architecture keep museums relevant and pull today’s audiences away from their devices? Are some museums succeeding in redefining their purpose as providing “experiences” and at least the semblance of authenticity, like touching mastodon bones or reading directly from the pages of Lincoln’s diary or Gutenberg’s Bible? And what happens when museums try to use social media and other technology to connect visitors to exhibits—and to each other?

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County president and director Lori Bettison-Varga, Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center director Lisa Sasaki, and Nicole Ivy, George Washington University public historian and former director of inclusion for the American Alliance of Museums, visit Zócalo to discuss the threats and opportunities that new technologies create for some of our most durable institutions.

In the Tateuchi Democracy Forum

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.



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