Japanese American National Museum
Events Calendar

Art, Culture & Identity Past Events


Thursday, May 14, 2015
7:00 PM

Mountain Brothers



Join us for an intimate conversation with cultural pioneers the Mountain Brothers, the first Asian American hip hop act to sign with a major label. Based out of Philadelphia, Chops (Scott Jung), Peril-L (Christopher Wang), and Styles Infinite (Steve Wei) broke new ground for Asian American musicians. Learn about their struggles and their triumphs, and where they are today. Moderated by Dr. Oliver Wang, associate professor of sociology at California State University, Long Beach.

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

This program is supported in part by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.

Learn how they broke new ground for Asian Americans in hip hop on the JANM blog.

Saturday, April 18, 2015
2:00 PM

Hello Kitty and Kawaii Culture


Join Hello! curators Jamie Rivadeneira and Christine Yano for a lively discussion of Hello Kitty and her place in Japan’s kawaii (cute) culture.

Free for members; free with Hello! admission; $5 general.

If you are purchasing tickets for Hello! and would like to attend this program, please RSVP to or call 213.625.0414.

In conjunction with the exhibition Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty
Saturday, February 28, 2015
2:00 PM

Hello! Exhibiting Artists Panel Discussion


Artists Paul Frank, Simone Legno, and Brandi Milne, whose work is featured in the contemporary art portion of Hello! The Supercute World of Hello Kitty, will participate in a discussion about their work and how Hello Kitty served as inspiration.

The artists will sign copies of the Hello! exhibition catalog after the discussion.

$12 members; $15 non-members. Does not include admission.


Paul Frank
Paul Frank is an internationally known artist whose bold, satirical designs for clothing and accessories have appeared in magazines, television shows, commercials, music videos, and motion pictures. Frank also creates fine art, which he describes as his character designs brought to life in soft sculptural form through sewing, carving, woodworking, and screen printing.

Simone Legno
Simone Legno is the creative director and co-founder of tokidoki, an innovative line of apparel, handbags, cosmetics, and accessories. Tokidoki, which means “sometimes” in Japanese, has a worldwide following and has collaborated with numerous brands including LeSportsac, Marvel, Levi’s, Smashbox cosmetics, and Xbox. Legno describes his brand’s philosophy as “the hope that something magical will happen to us.”

Brandi Milne
Brandi Milne’s rustic, melancholy scenarios recall classic European Gothic paintings while simultaneously expressing deeply personal narratives of growth and struggle.

In conjunction with the exhibition Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty
Sunday, February 22, 2015
2:00 PM

Hello Kitty Panel Discussion


This panel will take a critical look at Hello Kitty and examine her phenomenon from various perspectives. Moderated by Hello! curator Christine Yano, with Laura Miller, Jaime Scholnick, and Denise Uyehara.Yano will be signing books following the program.

Free for members; free with Hello! admission; $5 general.

If you are purchasing tickets for Hello! and would like to attend this program, please RSVP to or call 213.625.0414.



Christine Yano, PhD
Christine Yano is Professor and Chair of Anthropology at the University of Hawaii and co-curator of Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty. She has an MA in Musicology (Ethnomusicology) and Anthropology and a PhD in Anthropology, both from the University of Hawaii. Yano is the author of Pink Globalization: Hello Kitty’s Trek Across the Pacific; Airborne Dreams: “Nisei” Stewardesses and Pan American World Airways; Crowning the Nice Girl: Gender, Ethnicity, and Culture in Hawai‘i’s Cherry Blossom Festival; and Tears of Longing: Nostalgia and the Nation in Japanese Popular Song. During academic year 2014–15, she is Visiting Professor of Anthropology at Harvard University.

Laura Miller
Laura Miller is Ei’ichi Shibusawa-Seigo Arai Endowed Professor of Japanese Studies and Professor of Anthropology at the University of Missouri, St. Louis. She received her PhD in Linguistic Anthropology from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1988. The author of Beauty Up: Exploring Contemporary Japanese Body Aesthetics and co-editor of three other books, Miller has published widely on Japanese culture and language, on topics that include English loanwords in Japanese, the beauty industry, girls’ slang, self-photography, elevator girls, tarot cards, divination, and the ancient Japanese monarch Himiko. She teaches courses on Japan and linguistic anthropology and works to promote Japan Studies through a variety of campus and community programming.

Jaime Scholnick
Jaime Scholnick is a Los Angeles-based artist whose work deals with gender, power, consumerism, and global domination. She has shown internationally at such venues as MOMA P.S. 1, the Torrance Art Museum, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tucson. During a period of living in Japan, Scholnick began a series of multimedia artworks titled Hello Kitty Gets a Mouth. An eponymous short film from the series has been featured at film festivals throughout the United States. Scholnick earned her MFA from Claremont Graduate University in 1991 and is represented by CB1 Gallery in Los Angeles.

Denise Uyehara
Denise Uyehara is an award-winning performance artist, writer, and playwright whose work has been presented throughout the United States and in London, Vancouver, Helsinki, and Tokyo. For over two decades she used interdisciplinary performance to investigate what marks us in our migrations across borders of identity. She is a recent recipient of grants and awards from the MAP Fund, the National Performance Network Creation Fund, and the Asian Cultural Council. A founding member of the Sacred Naked Nature Girls, she conducts workshops for a wide range of communities—artists, LGBTQ, women, people of color—and is a frequent lecturer at colleges and universities.

In conjunction with the exhibition Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty
Sunday, February 8, 2015
2:00 PM

Staged Reading: Internment by Phinneas Kiyomura


Actor and screenwriter Phinneas Kiyomura will oversee a reading of his TV pilot script, Internment, which tells the story of an estranged Japanese American family who are forcibly reunited when all are sent to an incarceration camp in Central California during World War II. The script attempts to explore the complicated dynamics that erupt within families and countries during times of crisis.

Directed by Chris Tashima

Starring (in alphabetical order):
Takayo Fischer
Ren Hanami
Teresa Huang
Shiori Ideta
Brittany Ishibashi
Rodney Kageyama
Hiro Matsunaga
Ken Narasaki
Lani Nishiyama
Jeanne Sakata
Aaron Takahashi
Jerry Tondo
Kirsten Vangsness
Greg Watanabe
Mike Wiles
Ping Wu
Tadamori Yagi

Free with general museum admission.

Read an interview with screenwriter Phinneas Kiyomura on Discover Nikkei.

Thursday, November 20, 2014
8:00 PM

Hello Kitty Panel: Small Gift, Big Smile


Sanrio’s “small gift, big smile” philosophy is rooted in founder Shintaro Tsuji’s goal of encouraging positive relationships through small gifts. Join Sanrio representatives for a discussion of this philosophy and its role in Hello Kitty’s enduring appeal.

$4 members, $5 non-members.

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



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