Japanese American National Museum
Events Calendar

Art, Culture & Identity Past Events


Saturday, August 15, 2015
2:00 PM

Jidai Japanese Samurai Sword Lecture


Curators Michael Yamasaki and Darin S. Furukawa present an introductory lecture on Jidai: Timeless Works of Samurai Art.

Learn about the unique forging process and special properties of the Japanese samurai sword and see how the distinctive armor of the warrior class functioned not only as protection, but as a reflection of the wearer’s personality.

Presented as part of Natsumatsuri Family Festival. Reserved seating will be available for JANM members.

We anticipate high attendance for this program. Seating is available first come, first serve. Doors open at 1:30 p.m.

In conjunction with the exhibition Jidai: Timeless Works of Samurai Art
Saturday, July 25, 2015
2:00 PM

Before They Were Heroes Behind the Scenes Lecture


Curator Lily Tamai, PhD, will discuss historical background, preservation issues, and the selection process that went into organizing the Before They Were Heroes: Sus Ito’s World War II Images exhibition.

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

Saturday, July 18, 2015
6:00 PM

Canefield Songs: Holehole Bushi Advance Screening and Panel Discussion

The Japanese immigrants who worked on Hawai‘i’s sugar plantations in the late 19th and early 20th centuries sang as they worked, creating a Japanese-American equivalent of “the blues.” Called holehole (Hawaiian for dried cane leaves) bushi (Japanese for melody or tune), the songs are a record of the workers’ joys, sorrows, and challenges, providing a fascinating window onto early plantation life.

In the 1960s, Honolulu music teacher Harry Urata, whose own experiences in WWII concentration camps taught him the value of preserving immigrant culture, recorded hundreds of these songs, sung by the women who had created them 60 years before. Several years later, documentary producers Chris Conybeare, Franklin Odo, and Joy Chong-Stannard captured the last of the women pioneers on videotape, telling their stories and sharing their songs.

This material is brought together in the stunning new PBS Hawai‘i documentary video, Canefield Songs: Holehole Bushi, narrated by ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro. Screening will be followed by a panel discussion with the producers.

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

Saturday, July 11, 2015
2:00 PM

Sugar/Islands Panel Discussion and Reception


Sugar/Islands: Finding Okinawa in Hawai‘i—The Art of Laura Kina and Emily Hanako Momohara curator Krystal Hauseur, PhD, and artists Laura Kina and Emily Hanako Momohara discuss the ideas, histories, and inspirations behind their exhibition. Light reception to follow.

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

Saturday, June 6, 2015
2:00 PM

Seven Gifts from L.A. Kitchens to the World


The first European settlers in the Los Angeles area ignored the native food culture, but every wave of immigrants after that fused their cooking with the cultures that were already here. People from France, Italy, China, Mexico, Japan, Thailand, Korea, and other nations initially tried to recreate their home dishes here, but in time developed unique fusions that have become part of our shared national heritage.

Culinary historian Richard Foss will chart the waves of immigration to our city and explain the inspirations, accidents, and whimsical substitutions behind their greatest culinary successes. This fast-moving and humorous program is suitable for adults and children.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015
7:30 PM—9:00 PM

InSight: LAB Writers Group Presents: Why No Mouth?


This group of Asian American theater writers led by traci kato-kiriyama presents Why No Mouth?, a reading and discussion of Hello Kitty–inspired writings produced in their monthly workshop. The works are geared toward theater and look at themes of consumerism, relationships, and need.

Members of the group, who experiment with writing in live time and through an Asian-American lens, have included Greg Watanabe, Jason Fong, Judy Soohoo, Ken Narasaki, Prince Gomolvilas, Snehal Desai, Vasanti Saxena, and West Liang.

In conjunction with the exhibition Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty



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