Art, Culture & Identity Past Events
The History of Taiko in the Japanese American Community
Lecture and discussion
Just thirty years ago there was not a single taiko (Japanese drumming) group in the United States. Today nearly one hundred groups exist in North America and new groups continue to emerge. People of all ages and ethnic backgrounds enjoy listening to and performing taiko and it will continue to be an important element in the community.
Join the Museum for a presentation and discussion of the history and development of Japanese American taiko. This event is being presented in conjunction with the 1997 Japanese American Cultural and Community Center Taiko Conference. Free with Museum admission. Reservations required. Limited seating available.
Spotlight on Four Angelenos: Illuminating History Through Ordinary Lives
Performance and Discussion
At the California African American Museum
600 State Drive at Exposition Park, Los Angeles
Second in a three-part series co-sponsored by the Playrights Project, the Angeles Plaza, California Afro American Museum, and the Japanese American National Museum. This project features professional theatre artists who will perform monologues based on the lives of Los Angeles area senior citizens.
One of the featured Angelenos is Kimi Kawamura, a dance instructor who lived through the atomic bomb in World War II in Hiroshima. Her recollections, as dramatized by Denise Uyehara, crystallize one aspect of the Japanese American experience. Sharing the spotlight is Gladys Bankhead, whose life illustrates the African American experience in Los Angeles. Dramatized by Joyce Guy, this story chronicles the 80-year life of a loyal Watts resident and faithful churchgoer. Curator Rick Moss of the California Afro American Museum will use these two stories to explore the similarities and differences between the two communities. This project is made possible by a grant from the California Council on the Humanities.
Fresh Off the Page Series presented by AT&T / East West Players
Thursday Evenings at the Museum
Writers from the David Henry Hwang Writers Institute read from their own works—the very latest selections from their new poetry and plays—and perform original monologues, songs, plus a special comic feature: Angry Haiku.
Artists slated to appear include: Luisa Cariaga, Edgar Cayago, John Cho, Doug Cooney, Jason Fong, Leslie Ishii, Mark Jue, Soji Kashiwagi, Eddy Kim, Euijoon Kim, Lucy J. Kim, Wes Mann, Steve Park, John Song, Janice Terukina, and Lisa Yu. This program is funded in part by AT&T. Reservations required. Free with Museum admission. Limited seating available.
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.