Japanese American National Museum
Events Calendar

Family Festivals Past Events


Saturday, November 14, 2015
11:00 AM—4:00 PM

JANM Free Family Days: Pop Mania



Join us for a day of pop culture-themed activities in honor of Giant Robot Biennale 4.



  • See Giant Robot Biennale 4 and complete our scavenger hunt to win a prize.

  • Make a special custom button with a design started by a Giant Robot artist and finished by you.

  • At Ruthie’s Origami Corner, learn how to fold an origami dinosaur.

  • Contribute your creativity to our mural wall! Use magazine cutouts and other odds and ends provided by us to create a collective collage.

  • Decorate some fashionably funky glasses and wear them with style.

  • Let off some steam in our Robo Ranger Superhero Bounce House.

  • Take a break and relax with a book in our Reading Corner.


    11:30 a.m.–12 p.m.: JANM staff will offer a beginner’s drawing workshop in which participants learn how to draw a giant lizard monster attacking a city!

    12 p.m.: Live Drawing demonstration inside the galleries by artist Edwin Ushiro.

    1 p.m.: Art workshop led by artist Yukinori Dehara. Seating limited. Sign up at the survey table early!

    2 p.m.: Paper doll workshop led by artists Kozue and Dan Kitchens (kozyndan). Seating limited. Sign up at the survey table early!

    3 p.m.: Art workshop led by artist Yoskay Yamamoto. Seating limited. Sign up at the survey table early!


    Check back for updated schedule.


    Supported by 
    In conjunction with the exhibition Giant Robot Biennale 4
    Saturday, October 10, 2015
    11:00 AM—4:00 PM

    JANM Free Family Days: What's Cookin'?



    Join us for a day of food and fun with a green/sustainability theme.



  • Decorate a re-useable lunch bag to take to school each day.

  • Put your own unique designs on a re-useable water bottle.

  • At Ruthie’s Origami Corner, learn how to make paper onigiri (Japanese rice ball treats).


    12 p.m.–3 p.m.: Balloon Monsoon will make and give away balloons in the shape of cupcakes and ice cream cones. Limit one balloon per child. Line ends at 2:30 p.m.

    12 p.m.–3:30 p.m.: Kidding Around the Kitchen will teach families how to make a delicious Mediterranean grain and vegetable salad. First come, first served; activity ends when supplies run out.

    12:30 p.m.: Kieren van den Blink will present a special preview reading of her forthcoming book, Yum. A selection of the author’s previous books will also be available for signing.

    1 p.m.: Learn how easy it is to grow your own tomatoes, and then make your own chunky tomato salsa with Kitchen Kid. Limited to 15 children; each child must be accompanied by an adult. Instructor must be notified in advance of any allergies. Sign-up sheet will be available at the information desk.

    2 p.m.: Award-winning children’s book author Allen Say discusses and signs his new graphic novel, The Inker’s Shadow, which tells the story of his own coming-of-age at a military academy and his discovery of what it means to be American.

    3 p.m.: Discover the benefits of gardening and composting in a fun hands-on workshop led by Hope Gardens. Limited to 20 children. Sign-up sheet will be available at the information desk.

    3:30 p.m.: Join a sing-along with environmentally conscious tunes provided by Em is for Music.


    Supported by 
    Saturday, August 15, 2015
    11:00 AM—5:00 PM

    Natsumatsuri Family Festival



    Our popular annual summer celebration features Japanese and Japanese American performances, crafts, and activities for the whole family.

    • Enjoy stimulating performances by Minyo Station, Random Ninjas, and TAIKOPROJECT with Quetzal

    • Impress the crowd at our Karaoke Open Mic

    • Take a basic taiko drumming lesson with docent Hal Keimi

    • Join our community bon odori dance

    • Participate in a variety of family arts and crafts projects

    • Get a custom screen-printed Natsumatsuri t-shirt for your child, while supplies last

    …and more!

    Check for complete schedule.

    Natsumatsuri is held in conjunction with Nisei Week Festival (August 15–23), Little Tokyo’s biggest annual event. Make your plans early!


    Saturday, July 11, 2015
    11:00 AM—4:00 PM

    JANM Free Family Days: Okinawan Traditions



    In conjunction with the opening of Sugar/Islands: Finding Okinawa in Hawai‘i, join us for a day of performances, crafts, and activities celebrating Okinawan culture.



  • Okinawan Shiisaa: Resembling a cross between a dog and a lion, the shiisaa is a mythical beast believed to have the power to ward off evil. Statues of shiisaa are often seen in front of buildings, typically in pairs. Make your own shiisaa at our craft station!

  • Okinawan Lei Making: Originally created for use in a traditional dance, the Okinawan nuchibana lei has come to symbolize many things, including love, purity, hope, and remembrance. What will your nuchibana lei symbolize?

  • Okinawan Pastries: Sample saataa andaagii—delicious deep-fried pastries, while supplies last.

  • Souvenir Photo Booth: Show off the crafts you made, or just show your JANM pride, and take home a souvenir photo of you and your family, courtesy of Nerdbot.

  • Ruthie’s Origami Corner: Make a paper kariyushi shirt, the Okinawan version of a Hawaiian aloha shirt.

  • Okinawan Gifts Raffle: Stop by our survey table to claim a small prize and enter a raffle to win special gifts from Okinawa. Sponsored by the Okinawa Association of America, Inc.


    11:30 a.m.: Learn to draw a pair of shiisaa in our drawing workshop.

    1 p.m.: Listen to live sanshin-minyo (traditional folk songs accompanied by Okinawan banjo) performed by Yuna and Tida.

    1:15 p.m.: Enjoy traditional Okinawan dances performed by Tamagusukuryu Kansen-Kai, Yonamine Keiko Ryubu Dojo.

    1:30 p.m.: Take in a stimulating concert by Aloha Time Machine, featuring reggae- and blues-influenced ukulele player Jason Arimoto and Afro-Cuban percussionist Brad Ranola.

    2 p.m.: Join us for a panel discussion and reception on the occasion of the opening of our new exhibition, Sugar/Islands: Finding Okinawa in Hawai‘i. Curator Krystal Hauseur, PhD, and artists Laura Kina and Emily Hanako Momohara will talk about the ideas, histories, and inspirations behind their exhibition.

    3 p.m.: Enjoy an authentic Okinawan taiko performance by the Los Angeles branch of Ryukukoku Matsuri Daiko, founded in Okinawa in 1982.

    3:30 p.m.: Close out the day with some bluegrass-inspired pop by Okinawan musician Banjo Ai.

    3:50 p.m.: Winners of the Okinawan Gifts Raffle will be announced!


    Saturday, June 13, 2015
    11:00 AM—4:00 PM

    Target Free Family Saturdays: Uniquely You



    In conjunction with the Mixed Remixed Festival dedicated to celebrating the mixed-heritage experience, JANM’s day of family fun will celebrate everything that’s special about YOU!



  • Mirror, Mirror: Beautify a mirror for yourself, adding fun decorations that reflect who you are.

  • Be a Puppetmaster: Create your own puppet self-portrait.

  • Quick-Draw Caricatures: Be amazed as the Cartoon Slinger makes speedy cartoon portraits of you and your family.

  • Ruthie’s Origami Corner: Father’s Day edition! Make a special card just for dad.

  • Fusion Cuisine by Chego: Sample tasty fusion cuisine by L.A.’s Chego, featuring their famous 3 p.m. Meatballs and a special grilled bok choy topped with blueberry habanero salsa. (While supplies last.)


    11:30 a.m.: Author Kieren van den Blink presents an interactive reading of Sniff, the first in a series of five children’s books that evoke the fun and pleasure of the senses. Book signing to follow.

    1 p.m.: Join Story Theater for a family-friendly improvisational performance in which the themes and storylines are shaped by you!

    2 p.m.: Lora Nakamura reads from her book, The Bonsai Babes: A Love Story, a magical account of two little girls in Los Angeles who struggle to realize their dreams. Bonsai drawing activity and book signing to follow.

    3:15 p.m.: Multicultural theater troupe We Tell Stories performs Proud to Be Me, a series of interactive stories geared toward reinforcing self-esteem.


    Sponsored by

    Saturday, May 9, 2015
    11:00 AM—4:00 PM

    Target Free Family Saturdays: Meaningful May



    May is a month of many celebrations. Join us as we commemorate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, and the final month of Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty.

    *Admission to all activities and to Common Ground: The Heart of Community is FREE ALL DAY. Admission to the special exhibition, Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty, requires a separate purchase. All Hello! Admissions are based on timed entry; obtaining tickets in advance is strongly recommended.



  • Ruthie’s Origami Corner: Create a special Mother’s Day card.

  • Memorial Day Messages: Write a heartfelt message to or about a veteran on our Wall of Appreciation.

  • Flower Arrangement: Create a miniature ikebana-inspired flower arrangement in honor of Mother’s Day.

  • Hello Kitty Crafts: Celebrate Hello Kitty while she’s still here at our temporary tattoo and paper doll stations.


    11:30 a.m.: Join JANM volunteers who also happen to be veterans and hear their unique stories on a special Memorial Day Family Tour through Common Ground: The Heart of Community.

    12 p.m.: Take in an energetic taiko drumming performance by Los Angeles Matsuri Taiko.

    1 p.m.: Enjoy a Bollywood-style dance performance and learn about Indian folk dance traditions with the Bellytwins.

    1 p.m.–4 p.m.: Say goodbye to Hello Kitty in person, and take home a souvenir photo with her, courtesy of Nerdbot Photobooth.

    2 p.m.: Join an exciting K-Pop Dance Workshop with Aimee Lee Lucas.

    3:15 p.m.: Watch and participate in a lively dance performance that will incorporate traditions from Tahiti, Hawaii, and New Zealand. Presented by Island Inspirations.


    Sponsored by




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