Art, Culture & Identity Past Events
Yasuo Kuniyoshi: Japanese American Artist
Lecture Featuring: Tom Wolf, Ph.D.
Yasuo Kuniyoshi (1889–1953) began life in America like many other Issei (first generation of immigrant Japanese Americans). Following his arrival in 1906, he took on odd jobs in a Spokane railroad yard, a Seattle office building, and as an Imperial Valley farm worker. By the 1930s, he was a well-known, well-respected New York artist. How did this Issei become one of the most important American artists of the twentieth century? Kuniyoshi scholar Tom Wolf, Professor of Art History at Bard College, discusses Kuniyoshi’s work and its relationship to Japanese art. Reservations required. Free with Museum admission.
AT&T East West Players New Voices Writers Gallery: Leilani's Hibiscus by John Shirota
Thursday Evenings at the Museum Play Reading
Well-known Japanese American author and playwright Jon Shirota (Lucky Come Hawaii and Pineapple White) will read from Leilani’s Hibiscus, the sequel to his John F. Kennedy award-winning stage adaptation of Lucky Come Hawaii. Join us for an evening of comedy that plays upon the idea that home is where the heart is.
This program is funded in part by AT&T. Reservations required. Free with Museum admission. Limited seating available.
Obon and Bon Odori
Lecture and Demonstration Featuring Rev. Shuichi T. Kurai
Obons (Buddhist temples’ observance for the deceased) and the festive bon odori (the dancing that follows) are observed in nearly every Japanese American community but do we truly understand the meaning behind these rituals? Reverend Shuichi Thomas Kurai of the Sozenji Buddhist Temple of Montebello will shed some light upon these important community traditions which will include a demonstration of bon odori and bon daiko, the taiko drumming that accompanies the dances. Free with Museum admission. Reservations required. Limited seating available.
Japanese Americans in Sumo
From the 1930s to the 1950s, sumo wrestling emerged as a popular sport among the Nisei (second generation Japanese Americans), especially for those in Hawaii, Los Angeles, and the San Joaquin Valley.
Join Brian Niiya, curator of the exhibition Sumo U.S.A.: Wrestling the Grand Tradition as he moderates a panel of Japanese American sumo wrestlers who participated in this fascinating sport prior to World War II and in America’s concentration camps. Panel participants will share their stories about what it was like to participate in U.S. sumo tournaments during that period. Reservations required. Free with Museum admission.
California Asian Cuisine with Chef Randy Saito
Japanese American Cuisine Series
Randy Saito, the executive chef at downtown Los Angeles’ Hyatt Regency Hotel, demonstates his culinary skills in creating his specialty—California Asian cuisine as part of the popular Japanese American Cuisine series program.
Cooking since the age of 8, Chef Saito grew up in Maui, Hawai‘i where his father was an executive chef. For the past 17 years, Chef Saito has climbed the ranks with the Hyatt Regency and currently oversees two restaurants at the downtown L.A. location. At Pavan Pacifico, one of the delicacies is “Beef Culotte Yuzu Kosho,” a fusion of French and Japanese cooking.
Members $5, non-members $7 includes Museum admission. Reservations required. Early reservations suggested. Limited seating available.
Cold Tofu Improv: Tofu Through the Ages
Travel through time with Cold Tofu as they present great moments in history of the tofu tradition. This talented, energetic, multicultural comedy improv group has an amazing assortment of entertainment techniques that will keep you laughing all night. A guest artist and musician will also perform. Free. Reservations suggested. Limited seating available.