Japanese American National Museum
Events Calendar

Family Festivals Past Events


Saturday, April 8, 2017
11:00 AM—4:00 PM

JANM Free Family Days: Celebrate Japanese American History



Learn about Japanese American history and actor/activist George Takei with crafts and activities inspired by our exhibitions, Instructions to All Persons: Reflections on Executive Order 9066 and New Frontiers: The Many Worlds of George Takei.

Presented in collaboration with Kizuna.



  • Kizuna Craft Stations
    Get a head start on Kodomo no hi (Children’s Day, May 5) with our partnering organization, Kizuna. They will teach participants to make koinobori (carp streamers) and origami samurai hats.

  • Ruthie’s Origami Corner
    Learn to fold beautiful origami bird pins, much like the ones that were made by incarcerated Japanese Americans during World War II.

  • Drawing Activity
    When Japanese Americans were sent to camps during WWII, they were allowed to take only what they could carry. What would you put into your suitcase? Draw a few of your favorite things onto our paper suitcases.

  • JANM x Kizuna Photo Booth
    What does America mean to you? Tell us by making a slogan or sign and posing with it in our photo booth, brought to you by Nerdbot.

  • Comic Book Education
    Learn about famous Japanese Americans the fun way! Assemble and take home a special mini-comic book created by the Smithsonian Institution about the lives of former US Secretary of Transportation (and current Chair of JANM’s Board of Trustees) Norman Y. Mineta and civil rights activists Fred Korematsu and Yuri Kochiyama.

  • Paper Puppets
    Make a paper puppet of your favorite notable Japanese American, or other personal hero. Templates will be available.

  • Passport Travel
    View New Frontiers: The Many Worlds of George Takei and complete the passport we give you. Show your completed passport to a volunteer at the survey table to claim a prize! Limit one prize per person, while supplies last.


    11:30 a.m. • 1:30 p.m. • 2:30 p.m. • 3:30 p.m.: Story Time
    Throughout the day, volunteers from JANM and Kizuna will read stories that share the Japanese American experience.

    Stories will include:

    1 p.m.–4 p.m.: Spam Musubi Workshop
    Volunteers from Kizuna will lead a drop-in workshop on how to create this delicious and uniquely Japanese American treat. While supplies last!


    Plus, free admission all day to see:

  • Instructions to All Persons: Reflections on Executive Order 9066

  • New Frontiers: The Many Worlds of George Takei

  • Only the Oaks Remain: The Story of Tuna Canyon Detention Station

  • Common Ground: The Heart of Community

    In conjunction with the exhibition New Frontiers: The Many Worlds of George Takei
    Sunday, January 8, 2017
    11:00 AM—5:00 PM

    2017 Oshogatsu Family Festival - Year of the Rooster



    Ring in the Year of the Rooster with food, crafts, cultural activities, and performances!

  • Sample lucky zaru soba (cold buckwheat noodles) to bring good health in the New Year

  • Join author Sonoko Sakai for a hands-on onigiri (Japanese rice ball snacks) workshop. Rice

  • Watch a rainbow mochi demonstration by Brian Kito of Fugetsu-Do Confectioners

  • Get crafty at our various holiday-themed craft stations

  • See several varieties of chickens at our Live Chicken Petting Zoo

  • Watch Kodama Taiko’s unique mochitsuki (rice pounding) demonstration

  • Japanese drumming performance by TAIKOPROJECT

  • Pick up a fukubukuro (lucky grab bag) at the JANM Store

  • …and so much more!

    Check for for complete schedule.

    Sponsored by NHK World and Los Angeles County Arts Commission.

    Saturday, November 12, 2016
    11:00 AM—4:00 PM

    JANM Free Family Days: Incredible Inks



    In conjunction with our current exhibition Tatau: Marks of Polynesia, join us for a day of crafts, workshops, and performances that celebrate Polynesian culture and the art of tattoos.



  • Get a cool custom JANM temporary tattoo.

  • Try designing your own tattoos and motifs using traditional Samoan techniques such as the upeti board.

  • Learn to fold origami sharks with patterned paper at Ruthie’s Origami Corner


    11 a.m.–2 p.m.: Face Painting Station
    Before getting your cool temporary tattoo, be sure to stop by our face painting station for a complete “inked” look, courtesy of Party Face Magic. Line ends at 1:30 p.m.

    11:30 a.m.: Story Time with Tasi’s Gift: A Tale of Samoa
    Join us for an entertaining reading of the children’s book, Tasi’s Gift: A Tale of Samoa. Set on Samoa’s Upolu Island in the distant past, Tasi’s Gift is a touching story about Tuala, a young girl who learns the value of selfless giving from her grandfather Tasi, with the help of a surprising assortment of creative animals.

    12 p.m.–12:30 p.m.: Samoan Slap Dance Workshop
    Learn fa‘ataupati (Samoan slap dance) in a workshop with performer Diamond. This energetic dance is traditionally done by boys only, but the workshop is open to everyone.

    1 p.m.–2 p.m.: Hula Dance and Fire Knife Workshops
    Join Lopati for beginning lessons in hula dance and fire knife dance.
    *Please note we will NOT be using actual fire or knives.

    2 p.m.: Samoan Cultural Performance
    Kanana Fou Church Youth Group will perform traditional Samoan dances.

    3:15 p.m.: Samoan Siva Dance Workshop
    Learn to do the Siva (the Samoan word for “dance”) with Moana Sulu‘ape. This slow dance is traditionally for girls only, but the workshop is open to everyone.


    Plus, free admission all day to see Tatau: Marks of Polynesia, Uprooted: Japanese American Farm Labor Camps During World War II, and Common Ground: The Heart of Community.

    In conjunction with the exhibition Tatau: Marks of Polynesia
    Saturday, August 13, 2016
    11:00 AM—5:00 PM

    Natsumatsuri Family Festival



    Join us for our annual summer celebration featuring Japanese and Japanese American performances, crafts, and activities.

  • Musical performances by LA Matsuri Taiko, Common Souls, and Shin Kawasaki

  • Basic taiko drumming and bon odori dance lessons

  • Airbrush and henna temporary tattoos

  • Fun crafts including origami and the ever-popular Natsumatsuri paper hats

  • Museum scavenger hunt with prizes courtesy of Bandai

  • Free samples of saataa andaagii (Okinawan deep-fried pastries)

  • JANM Members Only reserved seating and express lines

  • …and so much more!


    Check for complete schedule.

    Supported by Los Angeles County Arts Commission and The Bandai Foundation.


    In conjunction with the exhibition Above the Fold: New Expressions in Origami
    Saturday, July 9, 2016
    11:00 AM—4:00 PM

    JANM Free Family Days: Handy Crafts



    Inspired by Above the Fold, this Family Day will explore origami and other fun handmade crafts.



  • Learn to fold a paper frog at Ruthie’s Origami Corner—a JANM favorite!

  • Visit our various origami stations to work on projects at the skill level of your choice. There will be beginning, intermediate, and advanced stations available. We will even have a pop culture-themed project to keep things lively!

  • Throughout the day, internationally renowned artist Nori Shirasu will offer drop-in origami classes, in which he will demonstrate a variety of techniques.

  • Create imaginative pencil toppers out of pipe cleaners.

  • Make puffy pom-poms out of yarn.


    11 a.m.–3 p.m.: Andantino String Duo
    Relax and listen to classical and pop music by the Andantino string duo while you work on your craft projects.

    3:30 p.m.: Decades of Rock
    Join 2015 Nisei Week Court Princess Veronica Ota as she rocks out with her band, Decades of Rock. Enjoy their renditions of classic rock and R&B hits from the 1960s through today.


    Sponsored by 


    In conjunction with the exhibition Above the Fold: New Expressions in Origami
    Saturday, June 11, 2016
    11:00 AM—4:00 PM

    JANM Free Family Days: Celebrating Family



    In conjunction with the Mixed Remixed Festival, JANM presents a day of activities that explore the meaning of family.



  • Construct a mobile to show what each member of your family means to you.

  • Create a family out of finger puppets.

  • Make a Father’s Day card at Ruthie’s Origami Corner.

  • Use our Instax camera to snap instant photos of you with your family or friends. Take these home, or use them in our 3 p.m. Family Scrapbooking Workshop!

  • Let off some steam inside our always-popular bounce house.


    11 a.m.–3 p.m.: Name Art Souvenirs
    Names often hold fun or important family stories. Let one of our artists make a souvenir artwork out of your family name or given name, which you can then take home.

    11:30 a.m.: Reading by Maria Leonard Olsen
    In collaboration with the Mixed Remixed Festival, JANM hosts author Maria Leonard Olsen, who will read from her book, Mommy, Why’s Your Skin So Brown? The book was written for her bi-racial children as a response to people’s confusion over her skin being darker than theirs.

    1 p.m.: Reading by Katrina Goldsaito
    In collaboration with the Mixed Remixed Festival, JANM hosts author Katrina Goldsaito, who will read from The Sound of Silence, her forthcoming book about a child’s experiences with the many sounds that can be heard in the bustling city of Tokyo.

    2:15 p.m.: Luce Puppet Co. Presents The Wizard of Oz
    Enjoy a puppet version of this classic story about a girl who finds herself in a faraway land and then comes home to learn the real meaning of family.

    3 p.m.: Family Scrapbooking Workshop
    It’s time to get going on that scrapbook of family memories! Bring your own family photographs or mementos and we’ll help you decorate a starter page.


    Sponsored by 





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