Japanese American National Museum
Events Calendar

Calendar of Events — May 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.

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.

Thursday, May 2, 2019
7:30 PM

ZÓCALO—How Does Community Conflict Turn Into Genocide?


The Ninth Annual Zócalo Book Prize Lecture at JANM’s National Center for the Preservation of Democracy

History often blames genocide solely on murderous demagogues and military campaigns. But more often than not, the forces that unleash ethnic cleansing arise slowly and during peacetime, and stem from seemingly everyday interactions in places that are home to diverse peoples. What sorts of exchanges and social conditions unleash genocidal behavior? How do people who long lived together as neighbors come to turn on—and kill—each other? And can we teach ourselves to spot the early steps towards genocide so that we might prevent it in other countries or even our own?

Brown University Distinguished Professor of European History Omer Bartov, winner of the ninth annual Zócalo Book Prize for Anatomy of a Genocide: The Life and Death of a Town Called Buczacz, visits Zócalo to share lessons from his mother’s hometown about how easily communities can slide into mass killing.

In the Tateuchi Democracy Forum

Friday, May 3, 2019

35th Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival


Friday, May 3 – Sunday, May 5

Visual Communications, the nation’s premier Asian Pacific American media arts center, once again brings the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) to JANM for a series of screenings.

LAAPFF is the largest film festival in Southern California dedicated to showcasing films by and about Asians and Pacific Islanders from around the world. Established in 1983 by Visual Communications, LAAPFF is a proud Academy Award®-qualifying film festival for the Short Film Awards and the only one of its kind in the world to have earned this qualification. In many cases, filmmakers will be on hand to participate in Q&A sessions with audiences!

For schedule and to purchase tickets, visit

Note: The festival runs May 2–10, with screenings at JANM taking place May 3–5.

In the Tateuchi Democracy Forum

Saturday, May 4, 2019

C3: Conference for Creative Content


The C3: Conference for Creative Content brings together the foremost media professionals in film, television, cable, digital, and transmedia to create a dialogue on the ever-changing media industry, share best practices, network, and to celebrate and build a collective vision.

Presented by Visual Communications, the first non-profit organization in the country dedicated to portrayals of Asian Pacific American peoples, communities, and heritage through the media arts—this year’s C3 theme is Future Forward—how to look forward but also not forget the past.

For details and to purchase tickets, visit

Sunday, May 5, 2019
11:30 AM

Common Ground Exhibition Tour in Japanese




In conjunction with the exhibition Common Ground: The Heart of Community
Thursday, May 9, 2019
7:00 PM

Film Screening, Q&A, and Reception—Masters of Modern Design: The Art of the Japanese American Experience



From the hand-drawn typeface on the cover of The Godfather to Herman Miller’s biomorphic coffee table, the work of Japanese American designers including Ruth Asawa, George Nakashima, Isamu Noguchi, S. Neil Fujita, and Gyo Obata permeated postwar culture. While these second generation Japanese American artists have been celebrated, less-discussed is how their World War II incarceration—a period of intense hardship and discrimination—had a powerful effect on their lives and art.

This documentary, a co-production between JANM’s Watase Media Arts Center and KCET for the series ARTBOUND, explores the ways in which their camp experiences impacted their lives, influenced their art, and sent them on trajectories that eventually led to their changing the face of American culture with their immense talents.

A Q&A with the filmmakers and some of the people interviewed for the film and a light reception will follow the screening. This program is free, but RSVPs are recommended using the link below.

The film will be broadcast in Southern California on KCET and available for streaming on starting May 15. Please check their website in May for more information.

In the Tateuchi Democracy Forum

Image: Ruth Asawa, 1952. Photo by Imogen Cunningham. ©2019 Imogen Cunningham Trust.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Member Appreciation Days


Friday–Sunday, May 10–12

Members enjoy a 20% discount at the JANM Store and, plus free admission and a 20% discount at other SoCal institutions, including the California Science Center, Fowler Museum, USC Pacific Asia Museum, and more.

Visit in May for details, restrictions, and a complete list of participants.

Saturday, May 11, 2019
11:00 AM—5:00 PM

Textiles Madness


Saturday–Sunday, May 11–12 • 11 a.m.–5 p.m.


Just in time for Mother’s Day textiles that spark joy! This year for our May Member Appreciation Days weekend we are bringing in a very special trunk show. We will be featuring handmade wearable art by Anne McCaddon of COATZ, made from re-purposed indigo art fabrics, and a fabulous selection of handwoven and hand-dyed art textiles and scarves from Mimbres: Art in Textile curated by Charles Galatis.

The 20% Member Appreciation Days discount will apply on trunk show items!

*The trunk show is free to browse and shop, but does not include admission to the museum.

Saturday, May 11, 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, May 11, 2019
1:00 PM—2:00 PM

Members Only Meet-and-Greet with Ren Hanami and Don Schmidt


All members are invited to an exclusive reception with Ren Hanami and Don Schmidt, author and illustrator, respectively, of Ninja Mom and Tengonis in the Tiki, prior to their reading of the book at 2 p.m.

Space is limited. RSVP by May 7 using the link below. You can also contact or 213.830.5646.

In the Nancy K. Araki Community Education Center

Saturday, May 11, 2019
2:00 PM—4:00 PM

Reading and Signing—Ninja Mom and Tengonis in the Tiki


It’s the first day of young Kimi’s ninja training when a group of monsters is accidentally unleashed. She’ll need help from her ninja mom, inventor dad, and grandmother warrior bachan to get through her first ninja lesson!

Author Ren Hanami and illustrator Don Schmidt will be at JANM to read from their book, Ninja Mom and Tengonis in the Tiki. They will also provide a short martial arts demonstration for children in the audience and sign books following the reading.

Included with museum admission. Space is limited. RSVPs are recommended using the link below.

Available at the JANM Store.

In the George & Sakaye Aratani Central Hall

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

ZÓCALO—Will California Pick the Next President?


A Zócalo/UCLA Downtown Event at JANM’s National Center for the Preservation of Democracy

Moderated by Madeleine Brand, Host, KCRW’s “Press Play”

When it comes to picking the country’s presidents, the richest and most populous state hasn’t much mattered. Because their primaries are held earlier and they are swing states in the general election, smaller and colder places—like New Hampshire, Iowa, and Ohio—have an outsized influence on who occupies the White House. But could 2020 be different? California has moved its presidential primary to an earlier spot on the calendar, and American politics is changing in ways that make California’s technology, celebrity, and money even more important. Could that help California candidates or even fuel a Republican challenger to Trump? And if California does have a central role in the 2020 presidential drama, how might the Golden State shape the agenda of the next president?

Dean of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs Gary Segura, vice president of the American Association of Political Consultants Rose Kapolczynski, and Latino Decisions co-founder and UCLA political scientist Matt Barreto visit Zócalo to discuss whether Californians will pick the next president, and what kind of president we might pick.

In the Tateuchi Democracy Forum

Photo by Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press.

Saturday, May 18, 2019
11:00 AM—4:00 PM

Two-Day Jewelry Workshop: The Wonderful World of Washi


Saturday–Sunday, May 18–19
11 a.m.–4 p.m.

Washi is a traditional Japanese handmade decorative paper that dates back to the seventh century. Unlike machine-made paper from wood pulp, washi is made from the inner bark of plants such as mulberry, bamboo, and wisteria, and hemp. The intertwining of fibers results in a paper that is strong, durable, washable, and acid-free. Its thin, smooth, soft surface can be printed with vivid colors and complex designs.

In this workshop led by Reiko Nakano, make your own long lariat necklace with irregularly shaped wooden beads, commercially made adornments, and bronze filigree connectors. The second project will be matching earrings.

Please bring your own beading board and jewelry-making tools, if possible. If not, all materials are supplied. Also bring a snack, and a desire to learn. $64 members, $80 non-members, plus $25 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, May 18, 2019
1:30 PM—3:30 PM

Food, Identity, and Culture in Los Angeles



How much can we learn about people different from ourselves from interactions in their restaurants, bakeries, and markets? Are we changed by the experiences we have when dining out? Does Los Angeles have its own distinctive food culture, and if so how is it changing?

This program will explore how diverse cultures in Los Angeles have shaped its food and informed the city’s culinary landscape. Panelists will discuss connections between the things and places we eat and the way we interact with the diverse peoples who help shape our city.

Panelists include Gustavo Arellano, features writer for the Los Angeles Times and author of Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America; cookbook author and cooking instructor Sonoko Sakai; and Guy Gabriele, a restauranteur in the LA area since the 1970s. Richard Foss from the Culinary Historians of Southern California will moderate this lively discussion.

This program is free, but RSVPs are recommended using the link below.

In partnership with the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles.

In the Tateuchi Democracy Forum

Tuesday, May 21, 2019
7:30 PM

Social Justice through the Arts



In celebration of Asian Pacific American Islander Heritage Month, Asian Americans Advancing Justice–LA and East West Players (EWP) are teaming up with JANM for a community conversation on social justice through the arts. Presented as part of EWP’s Counter Culture Series, this panel will discuss and celebrate Asian American voices within the arts. Panelists include playwright Prince Gomolvilas, performer-writer D’lo Kid, USC professor Dorinne Kondo, spoken word artists Steph & Eddy, playwright Alice Tuan, and journalist and cultural critic Jeff Yang.

This program is free, but RSVPs are recommended using the link below.

In the Tateuchi Democracy Forum

Wednesday, May 22, 2019
7:00 PM

Crime and Policing—A Conversation Determined by You (SoCal Solutions)



KPCC In Person is talking law enforcement, and you picked the topic.

We started by inviting your questions on crime and public safety. We narrowed them to three, and you let us know what matters most by voting for the question you wanted as the focus of our conversation. The responses have been tallied, and the top vote-getter is focused on transparency in law enforcement.

KPCC correspondent Frank Stoltze and special guests will discuss how recent changes in state law and local policy are opening up previously secret police records to public scrutiny. How will that affect the way law enforcement does its job? How will it affect the relationship between the police and the community?

Join KPCC In Person and JANM’s National Center for the Preservation of Democracy for a conversation that was determined by you. Guests include Arif Alikhan, director of constitutional policing and policy at LAPD; Peter Bibring, director of police practices for ACLU of Southern California; and Connie Rice, civil rights activist, lawyer, and co-founder of Advancement Project (CA). Additional guests to be announced. A post-event reception will follow the program so that we may continue the conversation.

This program is free, but RSVPs are recommended using the link below.

In the Tateuchi Democracy Forum

Friday, May 24, 2019
7:00 PM—9:00 PM

Upper Level Members and VIP Reception: At First Light


The Japanese American National Museum and Visual Communications invite JANM members at the Sustaining Level and above and special guests to preview At First Light: The Dawning of Asian Pacific America before it opens to the public on May 25.

Program with a light reception to follow. Invitations were mailed in early April.

In conjunction with the exhibition At First Light: The Dawning of Asian Pacific America
Saturday, May 25, 2019

Opening Day: At First Light

At First Light: The Dawning of Asian Pacific America is a multi-media exhibition that explores and celebrates the emergence of a politically defined Asian Pacific American consciousness and identity. A co-production of Visual Communications (VC) and the Japanese American National Museum, At First Light chronicles the transformation of the un-American categorization of “Oriental” to the political identity of “Asian Pacific American” that rejected racist stereotypes, stood up for human rights, recovered lost histories, and created new cultural expressions.

To learn more about this exhibition, visit

Saturday, May 25, 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, May 25, 2019
2:00 PM—5:00 PM

At First Light—Opening Day Discussion


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


To commemorate the opening day of the exhibition At First Light: The Dawning of Asian Pacific America, JANM will host Visual Communications (VC) co-founders and exhibition curators Duane Kubo, Robert Nakamura, and Eddie Wong in a panel discussion about the history of VC and the creation of this show. They will be joined by scholar, author, producer, and JANM Chief Curator Karen Ishizuka, who will moderate the discussion, helping to place VC’s history as the first Asian Pacific American media organization in the country within the context of today’s changing world.

Light refreshments will be served following the program. Included with museum admission. Space is limited. RSVPs are recommended using the link below.

In the George & Sakaye Aratani Central Hall

In conjunction with the exhibition At First Light: The Dawning of Asian Pacific America



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