Japanese American National Museum
Events Calendar

Books & Conversations Past Events


Saturday, March 25, 2017
2:00 PM

Author Discussion—Two Faces of Exclusion by Lon Kurashige


From the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 to the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, the United States has a long history of anti-Asian policies. In his latest book, author and USC Associate Professor of History Lon Kurashige demonstrates that despite widespread racism, Asian exclusion was not the product of an ongoing national consensus; it was a subject of fierce debate.

Two Faces of Exclusion examines the organized and well-funded opposition to discrimination that involved some of the most powerful public figures in American politics, business, religion, and academia. In recovering this opposition, Kurashige explains the rise and fall of exclusionist policies through an unstable and protracted political rivalry, arguing that exclusion-era policies were more than just enactments of racism—they were also catalysts for US-Asian cooperation and the basis for the 21st century’s tightly integrated Pacific world.

Join Kurashige for a stimulating discussion that will include a special focus on events leading up to the WWII incarceration of Japanese Americans.

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

Available at the JANM Store.

Saturday, February 25, 2017
2:00 PM

Author Discussion—The Great Unknown: Japanese American Sketches by Greg Robinson


The Great Unknown: Japanese American Sketches is a collection of biographical portraits of extraordinary but unheralded figures in Japanese American history—men and women who made remarkable contributions in the arts, literature, law, sports, and other fields.

Recovering and celebrating the stories of noteworthy Issei and Nisei and their supporters, the book highlights the diverse experiences and substantial cultural, political, and intellectual contributions of Japanese Americans throughout the country and over multiple decades. Included in these pages are Ayako Ishigaki, Issei feminist and peace activist; Milton Ozaki, mystery writer; Bill Hosokawa, journalist; Wat Misaka, basketball star; Gyo Fujikawa, children’s book artist and author; and Ina Sugihara, interracial activist, to name just a few examples.

Join author and historian Greg Robinson for a discussion of how he came to write the book and how the book functions as an alternative history that shows the unexpected diversity of Japanese American lives. The larger themes of civil rights and making connections among varied groups of people will also be covered.

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

This book is available at the JANM Store.

Read a review of this book, including an interview with author Greg Robinson, on Discover Nikkei.

Saturday, June 18, 2016
2:00 PM

Author Discussion and Activist Panel—Serve the People by Karen L. Ishizuka


Serve the People: Making Asian America in the Long Sixties tells the story of the social and cultural movement that knit disparate communities of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans into a political identity. Drawing on more than 120 interviews and illustrated with striking images from guerrilla publications, the book’s vivid narrative reveals the personal epiphanies and intimate stories of insurgent movers and shakers and ground-level activists alike. Serve the People paints a panoramic landscape of a radical time and aims to be the definitive history of Asian American political consciousness.

Recently honored at JANM’s 2016 Gala Dinner for her pioneering work in establishing the museum’s moving image collection and its Frank H. Watase Media Arts Center, author Karen L. Ishizuka will lead a panel discussion on the Asian American movement in Los Angeles.

Featured will be three activists included in her book: Warren T. Furutani, an educator and politician who is currently in the running for California State Senator; Mike Murase, attorney, current Director of Service Programs for the Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC), and co-founder of the UCLA Asian American Studies Center; and Qris Yamashita, a graphic designer and artist whose unique graphic style helped to form a visual identity for the Japanese American and Asian Pacific American community. Also joining the panel will be traci kato-kiriyama, artist, educator, community organizer, and co-founder of Tuesday Night Project, a free public program dedicated to presenting AAPI artists and community organizations.

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

Serve the People is available at the JANM Store.

Author Discussion—Enduring Conviction: Fred Korematsu and His Quest for Justice by Lorraine K. Bannai: June 4, 2016- None, Japanese American National Museum, Los Angeles, CA

Saturday, June 4, 2016
2:00 PM

Author Discussion—Enduring Conviction: Fred Korematsu and His Quest for Justice by Lorraine K. Bannai


In 1942, 22-year-old Fred Korematsu refused to comply with orders that culminated in the forced removal of over 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast, resulting in Korematsu v. United States—one of the most infamous cases in Supreme Court history. The court affirmed his conviction, holding that the mass removal of Japanese Americans was justified by military necessity. Forty years later, Korematsu successfully reopened his case on proof that the wartime government had lied to the Court, helping to pave the way for redress for the Japanese American community.

Korematsu went on to travel the country to speak about his case and warn against sacrificing civil liberties during times of perceived crisis—lessons even more relevant today as some in the country have turned on Muslims, persons of Middle Eastern descent, and those perceived to look like them following recent terrorist attacks. For his efforts, Korematsu was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Clinton in 1998.

Lorraine Bannai was an attorney on the legal team that successfully pursued Korematsu’s 1983 coram nobis case. Her compelling book tells Korematsu’s story and explores the ways in which his case and the wartime incarceration continue to be relevant to American society today.

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

This book is available at the JANM Store.

Read an interview with author Lorraine Bannai about the case and Enduring Conviction on Discover Nikkei.

Saturday, May 21, 2016
2:00 PM

Author Discussion—Sayonara Slam by Naomi Hirahara


Sayonara Slam is the highly anticipated sixth book in the award-winning Mas Arai mystery series. Set at Dodger Stadium during the Japan vs. Korea World Baseball Classic, the novel challenges its stoic protagonist—an aging, widowed Japanese American gardener from Altadena—with yet another multi-layered whodunit.

Who is that strange woman throwing knuckleball pitches to warm up the Japanese team? Who sent thugs to threaten Mas and accuse him of treason? What was in the deleted files on the murdered sportswriter’s computer, and did they hold secrets that led to his death? The more mysteries Mas uncovers, the deeper he gets drawn into a situation that soon grows dangerous and even threatens the affection of the woman he might someday admit he loves.

Join author and social historian Naomi Hirahara for a discussion of the backstory behind Sayonara Slam, which includes a little-known Japanese-style garden at Dodger Stadium, as well her journey to bring Japanese American stories to a mainstream audience. A former editor of The Rafu Shimpo, Hirahara has published a number of nonfiction books on the Japanese American experience in addition to her mystery novels and books for younger readers.

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

Available at the JANM Store.

Saturday, January 23, 2016
2:00 PM

Author Discussion—The Japanese American Story by S. Floyd Mori


This book is a collection of speeches and articles that were written and presented by S. Floyd Mori while he was representing the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), the nation’s oldest and largest Asian American civil rights organization, as National Executive Director and CEO, Director of Public Policy, and National President.

The book tells the story of the wrongful incarceration of 120,000 Japanese American citizens during World War II in order to ensure that such a violation of citizens’ rights is never repeated. Mori also discusses civil rights issues and the history of the JACL and the Japanese American community. Proceeds from book sales will benefit Japanese American and civil rights organizations.

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

The Japanese American Story is available at the JANM Store.

Read an interview with Floyd Mori about his book on Discover Nikkei.




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