Japanese American National Museum
Events Calendar

Art, Culture & Identity Past Events


Saturday, February 8, 2020
2:00 PM—4:00 PM

Transcendients Artist Discussion with Taiji Terasaki


Join us to celebrate the launch of the exhibition catalog, Transcendients: Heroes at Borders, Los Angeles, in conjunction with the new exhibition, Transcendients: Heroes at Borders. Art critic and curator, Isabella Ellaheh Hughes, will discuss the process of developing the exhibition with contemporary artist, Taiji Terasaki. A light reception and catalog signing with Terasaki and some of the heroes featured in the exhibition will follow.

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

In the Tateuchi Democracy Forum

In conjunction with the exhibition Transcendients: Heroes at Borders
Saturday, January 11, 2020
2:00 PM

Tales of Little Tokyo


Two performances:

  • 2 p.m.–3:30 p.m.

  • 7 p.m.–8:30 p.m.
  • FREE!

    Tales of Little Tokyo is a live theatrical reading of memories drawn from over 50 interviews with Los Angeles residents about their relationship to the oldest and largest Japanese American community in the United States. Today this 135+ year old landmark of Japanese American history faces serious threats to its existence as the relentless forces of gentrification bear down on its ever-shrinking geography. This is a phenomenon that major cities across the country are grappling with.

    Why are communities and the cultural history they embody important? What do we stand to lose? What have we lost already? How can a community respond intelligently and effectively to conflicting issues of preservation and development? Tales of Little Tokyo speaks to those questions and more through the stories of those who have been part of its history and who continue to cherish it as a community.

    Originally created by award-winning performance artist Dan Kwong in 2018, this presentation of Tales of Little Tokyo will include new interviews as well as a multimedia component. Read/performed by Kwong and veteran actress Takayo Fischer, dozens of recollections will come to life with the help of exquisite archival photos, family snapshots, and period music. Together they will convey the rich history of Little Tokyo and what it means to its stakeholders.

    Even to those who are not Japanese American or have no particular relationship to Little Tokyo, the idea of people fighting for something that has symbolized “home” for generations resonates loud and clear: the heart and soul of a city is found in the collective experience of its people.

    The performances are now free (as of 1/8/20), but RSVPs are encouraged using the links below. Please note that the 7 p.m. performance begins after the museum closes at 5 p.m.

    2 p.m.–3:30 p.m.:

    7 p.m.–8:30 p.m.:

    This presentation represents the evolution of a project Kwong began during his participation in Little Tokyo Service Center’s inaugural +LAB Artist Residency in Summer 2018 at JANM.

    In the Tateuchi Democracy Forum

    Saturday, November 9, 2019
    2:00 PM—4:00 PM

    Passing the Legacy: Hiroshima and Nagasaki


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


    In conjunction with the opening of Under the Mushroom Cloud: Hiroshima, Nagasaki and the Atomic Bomb, join us for a special presentation by Takuo Takigawa, Director of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and testimonies followed by Q&A with Howard Kakita and Junji Sarashina, Japanese Americans who were in Hiroshima when the atomic bomb was dropped. The program will be moderated by JANM Vice President of Operations/Art Director Clement Hanami, whose mother was also an atomic bomb survivor.

    The premier of Seeds, a 20-minute documentary by director Miyuki Iwasaki about the late Kazuye Suyeishi, a Japanese American atomic bomb survivor and activist, will also be included in the program. A shorter version of the film will be shown as part of the Under a Mushroom Cloud exhibition.

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

    In the Tateuchi Democracy Forum

    Saturday, October 19, 2019
    5:00 PM

    Reading of Velina Hasu Houston’s Madame Butterfly



    What is the “real” story of Madame Butterfly? In John Luther Long’s 1898 short story, Madame Butterfly, the demise of the fictional lead character is quite a bit different than depicted in the famed story in Giacomo Puccini’s similarly named opera or the reincarnation of that female essence in Cameron Mackintosh’s Miss Saigon musical theatre play.

    In a new play and film, Velina Hasu Houston explores the archetype myth in Madame Butterfly: The Original, adapted from the Long story.

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

    In the Tateuchi Democracy Forum

    Saturday, August 24, 2019
    2:00 PM—4:00 PM

    Full Circle—Mitsuye Yamada’s Book Release Celebration and Multigenerational Poetry Reading


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


    Poet, essayist, educator, activist, and foremother of Asian American feminism, Mitsuye Yamada will read from her newest collection of poetry, Full Circle: New and Selected Poems. The celebration will also uplift the voices of generations of other Japanese American women writers, including special guests Diane Fujino, Miya Iwataki, Amy Uyematsu, Brynn Saito, and Diana Tsuchida. Live music by Kyoko Takenaka will accompany the dynamic readings. The program will be emceed by kyoko nakamaru. Yamada will sign copies of the book after the program.

    Included with museum admission. RSVPs are recommended.

    Full Circle will be available for purchase at the JANM Store.

    Mitsuye Yamada on Discover Nikkei

    In February, Mitsuye Yamada was the featured poet for the Nikkei Uncovered monthly poetry column on JANM’s Discover Nikkei website. She shared some thoughts about her upcoming book, as well as three poems, including a new one from Full Circle. Read it now.

    Watch clips from a 2018 interview.


    In the Tateuchi Democracy Forum

    Saturday, July 27, 2019
    2:00 PM—4:00 PM

    442 Graphic Novel Talk and Drawing Workshop with Rob Sato




    Enjoy a talk between the authors of 442, a graphic novel by Koji Steven Sakai and Phinneas Kiyomura, who, along with artist Rob Sato, will discuss their collaboration process. Following the discussion, we invite you to participate in a drawing workshop for all skill levels; materials will be provided.

    442 follows Hiro, a young man incarcerated at the Manzanar concentration camp during World War II who volunteers for the 442nd Regimental Combat Team (RCT) and joins the battle to rescue the “Lost Battalion.” The 442nd RCT was a segregated unit of Japanese Americans who became the most highly decorated military unit for their size and duration of service.

    This program is free, but seating is limited. RSVPs are strongly recommended.

    If you RSVP’d, we recommend you arrive early. Seats are first come, first serve. We will begin seating at 1:30 p.m. There will be a stand-by line starting at 1:40 p.m. Unclaimed seats will be released at 1:55 p.m.

    Presented in partnership with Go For Broke National Education Center.

    Available at the JANM Store.

    In the Weingart Foundation Garden Foyer




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