Programs are free for Members and included with admission for visitors, unless otherwise noted.

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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, July 11, 2015
    2:00 PM

    Sugar/Islands Panel Discussion and Reception


    Sugar/Islands: Finding Okinawa in Hawai‘i—The Art of Laura Kina and Emily Hanako Momohara curator Krystal Hauseur, PhD, and artists Laura Kina and Emily Hanako Momohara discuss the ideas, histories, and inspirations behind their exhibition. Light reception to follow.

    This program is free, but RSVPs are strongly encouraged using the link below.

    Sunday, July 12, 2015
    11:00 AM

    Members Only Exhibition Tour: Sugar/Islands


    JANM members are invited to join curator Krystal Hauseur, PhD, and artists Laura Kina and Emily Hanako Momohara on this exclusive tour of the exhibition Sugar/Islands: Finding Okinawa in Hawai‘i.

    This event has reached capacity; no additional reservations can be accepted.

    Saturday, July 18, 2015
    4:45 PM

    Members Only Exhibition Tour: Sugar/Islands


    Join artist Laura Kina and curator Krystal Hauseur, PhD, for this exclusive gallery tour of the exhibition Sugar/Islands: Finding Okinawa in Hawai‘i.

    Limited to 25 participants. RSVP to or 213.830.5646.

    Saturday, July 18, 2015
    6:00 PM

    Canefield Songs: Holehole Bushi Advance Screening and Panel Discussion

    The Japanese immigrants who worked on Hawai‘i’s sugar plantations in the late 19th and early 20th centuries sang as they worked, creating a Japanese-American equivalent of “the blues.” Called holehole (Hawaiian for dried cane leaves) bushi (Japanese for melody or tune), the songs are a record of the workers’ joys, sorrows, and challenges, providing a fascinating window onto early plantation life.

    In the 1960s, Honolulu music teacher Harry Urata, whose own experiences in WWII concentration camps taught him the value of preserving immigrant culture, recorded hundreds of these songs, sung by the women who had created them 60 years before. Several years later, documentary producers Chris Conybeare, Franklin Odo, and Joy Chong-Stannard captured the last of the women pioneers on videotape, telling their stories and sharing their songs.

    This material is brought together in the stunning new PBS Hawai‘i documentary video, Canefield Songs: Holehole Bushi, narrated by ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro. Screening will be followed by a panel discussion with the producers.

    This program is free, but RSVPs are recommended using the link below.

    Saturday, July 18, 2015
    4:00 PM—4:30 PM

    Sugar/Islands Catalog Signing


    Artist Laura Kina and curator Krystal Hauseur, PhD, will be signing copies of the Sugar/Islands: Finding Okinawa in Hawai‘i exhibition catalog.

    The catalog is available for purchase from the JANM Store.

    Saturday, August 8, 2015
    11:00 AM—12:30 PM

    Members Only Family History Workshop


    JANM members and their children, grandchildren, parents, and/or grandparents are invited to explore their family history together in this new workshop inspired by the Sugar/Islands exhibition.

    After a brief tour of the exhibition, your family will create sun prints using one or two family photos that you bring along (photos will not be damaged) and family records that will be prepared for you ahead of time.

    This event has reached capacity; no additional reservations can be accepted.

    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!


    JANM Email Updates



    sugar-islands – FIRST & CENTRAL: The JANM Blog

    The Secret History of Okinawan Tattoos
    August 27, 2015 When Okinawa was under the rule of the Ryukyu monarchy ...
    Shiisaa: Okinawa’s Lion/Dog Guardian
    July 7, 2015   The shiisaa (sometimes spelled shisa) is a traditional decorative icon ...
    New Exhibition Touches on Okinawan History
    July 1, 2015   On July 11, JANM will open a new exhibition, Sugar ...

    more »

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