Japanese American National Museum
Events Calendar

Film Screenings Past Events


Saturday, May 14, 2016
2:00 PM

Film Screening—Toyo Miyatake: Infinite Shades of Gray



A screening of the award-winning film by JANM’s own Watase Media Arts Center about renowned photographer Toyo Miyatake. Miyatake’s thriving practice as a Little Tokyo–based portrait and art photographer was put on pause when he was incarcerated during World War II. However, smuggling a lens and film holder into camp, Miyatake made history by becoming one of the first to photograph the Japanese American concentration camp experience from the inside. Introduced by Making Waves curator Dennis Reed.

This film is available at the JANM Store.

Read an interview with filmmakers Karen Ishizuka and Robert Nakamura about the film and Toyo Miyatake on Discover Nikkei.

Saturday, April 2, 2016
2:00 PM

Film Screening and Panel Discussion—The Empty Chair


In 1942, Alaska native John Tanaka was going to be the valedictorian of his high school graduating class, but was scheduled to be incarcerated by the U.S. government before the ceremony could take place. In response, the Juneau school board voted to hold a special early graduation ceremony for him. When the official ceremony was held for the class of ’42, they set aside an empty chair on the platform to acknowledge Tanaka’s absence. Tanaka went on to volunteer for service in the all-Japanese American 442 Regimental Combat Team while his family remained in an American concentration camp.

The Empty Chair is a unique documentary film composed of interviews of survivors from that period, rare historical photos, never-before-seen archival footage, U.S. government documentaries, and historical accounts. All of these sources are woven together to draw the viewer back into this little-known chapter of American history. Panel with the filmmakers to follow the screening.

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

Read more about this film on Discover Nikkei.

Saturday, March 26, 2016
2:00 PM

Film Screening and Panel Discussion—To Climb a Gold Mountain


In honor of Women’s History Month, JANM presents To Climb a Gold Mountain (2015), a documentary that tells the story of Los Angeles through the eyes of four immigrant Chinese women.

Covering a span of 160 years, each woman featured in the film faced a different set of challenges, fighting in her own unique way to make a difference. Included are Anna May Wong, a groundbreaking actress who achieved success and fame, and Sing Ye, a little-known prostitute who lived in the 1800s and fought for freedom.

A thought-provoking film, To Climb a Gold Mountain seeks to address contemporary issues of immigration, violence against women, and cross-cultural relations by reflecting on the struggles of the past. Panel discussion with the filmmakers to follow the screening.

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

Sunday, February 28, 2016
2:00 PM

Film Screening—Copyright: Leonard Frank and The War Between Us


In conjunction with Two Views, JANM will screen a short documentary on Leonard Frank and a feature-length drama set against the Japanese Canadian incarceration.

Copyright: Leonard Frank tells the story of the great Canadian photographer, who emigrated from Germany at the age of 22. After winning a camera in a lottery, he spent the next 50 years taking pictures of everyday life, landscapes, and industry in British Columbia, becoming renowned as one of the defining photographers of Western Canada.

Set in British Columbia shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, The War Between Us tells the story of the Kawashima family, who are forcibly taken away from their home and business and sent to a mining camp deep in the country’s interior. The family faces primitive living conditions and racist treatment from the locals, but they eventually forge real friendships with their neighbors, helping to ease their feelings of betrayal by the Canadian government.

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

Thursday, February 4, 2016
7:00 PM

Big Trouble in Little Tokyo presents The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)


Join us for a 10th anniversary screening of the third film in the blockbuster Fast and Furious franchise. A bit of an outlier in the Fast and Furious series, Tokyo Drift follows a different set of characters from the previous films.

High school student Sean Boswell, who has a penchant for street racing, is sent to live with his father in Tokyo. He quickly gets involved with a local gang of racers, who practice a unique style of “drift racing.” To fit in and prove himself, Sean must master the new style and defeat the leader of the gang.

Panel discussion to follow with director Justin Lin and actors Sung Kang and Leonardo Nam.

Pre-sale: $10 JANM and Visual Communications members, $12 general.
At the door (if available): $12 JANM and VC members, $15 general.

Big Trouble in Little Tokyo is a film series presented by JANM in partnership with Angry Asian Man, First Pond Entertainment, and Visual Communications.

Sunday, October 25, 2015
4:00 PM

Film Screening, Panel Discussion, and Reception—Off the Menu: Asian America


Off the Menu: Asian America, a new documentary by award-winning filmmaker Grace Lee, takes viewers on a road trip across the United States in an exploration of how family, history, faith, and geography shape people’s relationships to food and their communities. Lee travels from Houston, Texas, to Oak Creek, Wisconsin, to Oahu, Hawaii, seeking stories that reflect an evolving Asian Pacific America and the role food plays in peoples’ lives.

“We wanted to find unexpected stories that embodied the Asian American experience,” says Lee. “Asian America is already such a vast, complex, and contested idea. Focusing on food was a way to explore the deeper connections of culture and family, and the ideas of authenticity and adaptation that link us all.”

Screening will be followed by a panel discussion with Lee and local chefs and food writers, moderated by sociologist Oliver Wang. Reception to follow, featuring dishes inspired by the film.

Tickets are available at

Presented in partnership with Visual Communications.




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