Public Programs

Programs are free for Members and included with admission for visitors, unless otherwise noted. Reservations are recommended by calling 213.625.0414 or by e-mail to at least 48 hours prior to the event (please indicate name, number of reservations, date, and time of the event). Seating is limited.

To see a complete listing of the Museum’s programs, visit

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Member Preview & Reception

Textured Lives: Japanese Immigrant Clothing From the Plantations of Hawai'i Member Preview & Reception.

In addition, we will have two very special performers: Herb Ohta, Jr. and Allison Arakawa performing during the reception.

Herb Ohta, Jr.
Teacher, composer, recording artist, entertainer, and producer, Herb Ohta, Jr. solidly establishes himself as one of Hawaii's most influential 'ukulele masters. He is a six-time Na Hoku Hanohano Award Nominee and a two-time Hawai‘i Music Award Winner. He has performed throughout the state of Hawai‘i and has traveled overseas to Japan and the mainland USA. Herb has also been featured at the Japanese American National Museum's 1st&Central Concert Series. Herb Ohta, Jr. is certainly a vanguard in this new generation of ‘ukulele players.

Allison Arakawa
Now a resident of Alhambra, Allison started the study of singing Japanese music in Hawai'i under Harry Urata at the age of four, including children’s songs to Enka. Urata-sensei compiled and standardized Hole Hole Bushi, which was the song sung by the first generation of Japanese immigrants to Hawaii. This historical song has been added to the Asian Collection at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. as well as museums in Hawaii and throughout Japan (Hiroshima, Oshima). Allison will perform a special version of this song at the opening reception.

She also learned sanshin (Okinawan shamisen) and Okinawan koten ongaku (Classical Okinawan music) from Terukina Choichi Sensei, who has been honored as a Japanese National Living Treasure.

5:30 PM

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Target Free Family Saturday: Wear This!

events/2007-07-14_TargetLogo_________________.JPG FREE ALL DAY!

Enjoy a day of family fun at the National Museum. March’s theme is clothing.

Generously sponsored by Target, these special Saturdays are filled with fun activities giving families unique ways to learn, play, and grow together.

With additional support provided by the Mitsubishi International Corporation.

  • Take a close look and explore the beautiful textiles in Textured Lives: Japanese Immigrant Clothing from the Plantations of Hawai'i with a scavenger hunt through the exhibition galleries

  • Make a sock puppet and fun clothes for it to wear

  • Ruthie's Origami Corner: Make an origami happi coat

  • Bring an old t-shirt and alter it to transform it into something new and fun!

  • SPECIAL: KIDS CLOTHING SWAP PARTY! Bring any size/age children’s clothing in good condition and exchange it for something else

    11 AM – Doors open

    11:30 – 1:30 PM – Shibori* workshop for kids with Shibori Girl (limit 20 students, minimum age 9 years old)

    1 – 4 PM – Kidding Around the Kitchen will show you the way to stylishly dress yummy healthy fillings for a quick lunch or snack on the go

    1 – 4 PM – Dress your skin with a fun and temporary henna tattoo by LA Henna

    1 – 4 PM – Put on a costume and smile for the camera! Have a fun photo taken with LA Photo Party – a photo booth without the photo booth!

    4 PM - Doors close

    *a Japanese term for several methods of dyeing cloth

    Shibori Girl
    "As a child growing up in Japan I had the great fortune to be exposed to the beauty, technical skill and lifelong practices of many Japanese craftsmen and women. The respect and reverence the Japanese hold for these traditions and those who practice and master them made an early mark on my life. Later on, as a high school student in Fairfax County Virginia, I was again graced with the good fortune of a school with complete art studios and teachers to match each medium (ceramics, fiber, metal, sculpture, jewelry, painting and drawing, and printmaking). It is no surprise I found a way to a career as a full time artist/maker for over 30 years.

    As a parent of students in the public schools, I decided to become an artist volunteer and spent nearly 10 years on and off going into an elementary classroom and teaching art concepts. I am thrilled to be able to bring this passion for pairing art, shibori and children to the JANM!"

    You can find her online at

    LA Henna
    The art of henna came to us as a passion to create, using henna as our medium. For some it came on as a way to keep our cultural tradition. We were not trained to act on henna from a business standpoint, yet we love to share our art & work in our business. We all truly love what we do & really strive to be the best we can be at all the parties & events we get hired for. We are all extremely friendly, happy & outgoing. We all come out to you with complete humbleness & appreciation for the job.

    To book LA Henna for your party, got to

    LA Photo Party
    8 months ago, at a party at my house, my friends were begging me to take their photos in my studio. I didn't want to deal with taking pictures of them because I was entertaining so I set my camera up to take a picture every 5 seconds.

    It turned out that without me around, my friends were more inclined to be silly, jumping in front of the camera and making funny faces. They gathered around my computer monitor to review their photos as other friends took over the studio.

    The next morning I realized what I had stumbled upon and began to figure out how to make the idea portable -- LA Photo Party was born.

    For more information or to book your own LA Photo Party event, go to

    Kidding Around The Kitchen
    It is such a common problem in today's world that families rarely get to eat together anymore.

    Kidding around the Kitchen shows that families can make and eat food together without a lot of fuss or a huge time commitment. The family food demo helps families with tips on smarter shopping, fun recipe ideas, advice on how to incorporate healthier choices when possible and advice on how to delegate tasks in an age-appropriate way. This family food demo is a “how to” get everyone involved in the family meal.

    Kidding around the Kitchen is for families that have full plates in life as well as wanting a full plate of food to enjoy together. It's about time well spent. You'll see your kids get a we did it attitude!! This family food demo works on the try it premises all while empowering the kids and family. If we can do it, so can you!!

    Kidding around the Kitchen is an adventure in fun, food and family. We are not only making food, we are making memories.

    For more information on Kidding around the kitchen go to:

    May 8: Kid's Day!

    June 12: Theme: Uniquely You!

    July 17: On the Go!

    Oct 9: Theme Martial Arts:
    "Just for Kicks"

    Nov 13: Theme Fall
    "Fall into Fall”

    Dec 11: Theme: Origami
    “Fold, Crease, and Crinkle”

    11:00 AM

    Saturday, March 27, 2010

    Shibori Class with Shibori Girl


    This half day workshop will introduce you to three basic traditional shibori techniques-makiage (stitched and bound), itajime (fold and clamp), and arashi (pole wrapped) shibori on silk. Traditional and contemporary samples from my collection will be on hand for observation as well as many favorite books on the subject from my library.

    Using a non-toxic cold water dye for silk that needs no chemicals or heat to set the dye, we will concentrate on applying these techniques in inventive ways that will inspire you to further study of this creative form of surface design. All these techniques can be applied to fabrics other than silk (cotton, linen, etc.) in addition to dyes of all kinds. Discharge work will be discussed but not attempted due to the limitations of the workspace.

    This class is for beginners and beyond, the inventive nature of shibori allowing for practitioners of all levels to learn, create, and be inspired.

    This is a hands on class- please wear studio attire.

    Materials student should bring to class include: small scissors, seam ripper, thimble (if desired), and a notebook for jotting down any information you deem important. Minimal handouts will be provided.

    $35 members; $40 non-members, an additional $25 materials fee (cash only) will be collected at the beginning of class, admission is included. RSVP early, 25 students max.

    For more information about Shibori Girl or to see some of her work, go to

    This program was made possible by the generous support of the UCLA Paul I. & Hisako Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies

    1:00 PM

    Saturday, April 24, 2010

    Kimono: From Past To Present

    events/Yamanoryu_Kisou_Logo_.jpg Come join us for a beautiful and educational kimono show and lecture, featuring men and women's kimono for all different occasions, by the International Beauty Association Yamanoryu Kisou.

    The show will feature furisode (a long sleeve kimono worn by unmarried women for ceremonies), homongi (a regular sleeved kimono worn by men and women for ceremonies), montsuki hakama (formal Japanese attire for men), and tomesode (a formal kimono worn by married women).

    The lecture will include information about the different kinds of kimonos people wear, kimono patterns and designs, the kinds of kimonos you would wear for different seasons, the evolution of kimono fashion, an explanation and demonstration of how to tie an obi, and more.

    This program is sponsored by the Atsuko & Ina Goodwin Tateuchi Foundation in partnership with the Japanese American National Museum.

    2:00 PM

    Saturday, April 24, 2010

    Trunk Show: Elegance Repurposed

    events/Fall_quilts_100_80.jpg Saturday 4/24 & Sunday 4/25!

    A trunk show featuring the work of Georganne Alex, Karen Brock, and Kumiko and Yoshiko Imoto.

    Meet these artists who re-use and repurpose fine silk kimono fabrics to create art, accessories, and contemporary clothing. It is an opportunity to purchase beautiful and unique work directly from the artisans and support the National Museum’s educational programs.

    To see some of these artists work, please visit their sites:
    Georgeanne Alex
    Karen Brock
    Kumiko and Yoshiko Imoto

    11:00 AM

    Saturday, May 15, 2010

    Unique Flowers: Straw Lei Workshop

    events/straw_lei100.jpg Learn how to make a beautiful fancy fur yarn lei using an ordinary drinking straw in this hands-on workshop with Elizabeth K Asawa. Limited to 15 participants, ages 12 and up. Advance reservations required. $9 members; $14 non-members, includes admission and supplies.

    This program was made possible by the generous support of the UCLA Paul I. & Hisako Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies

    1:00 PM

    Sunday, May 30, 2010

    Exhibition Closing -- EXTENDED TO AUGUST 22


    Textured Lives: Japanese Immigrant Clothing From the Plantations of Hawai'I has been extended to August 22.

    Sunday, May 30, 2010

    Picture Brides

    events/picture_brides100.jpg Dr. Michiko Midge Ayukawa will shed light on the lives and histories of picture brides—Issei women who came to North America to marry husbands they knew only from photographs— and how they affected the community.

    Michiko Midge Ayukawa was born in Vancouver, B.C. During World War II, she was incarcerated for four years at Lemon Creek, in the Slocan Valley, Canada. Her family resettled in Hamilton, Ontario. After obtaining her BSc and MSc at McMaster University, she worked at the National Research Council in Ottawa. Later she taught undergraduate Chemistry laboratory classes at Carleton University and the University of Victoria. In the mid-80s, she began to study history and obtained a Doctorate in 1997 at the University of Victoria. Ayukawa has written a number of articles on Japanese Canadians, in particular, Japanese picture brides. She has co-authored with Audrey Kobayashi “The Japanese Canadians” in Akemi Kikumura-Yano, ed., Encyclopedia of Japanese Descendants in the Americas, Altimira Press, 2002 and is also co-author with Patricia Roy of “The Japanese,” in Paul Robert Margosi, ed., The Encyclopedia of Canada’s Peoples, University of Toronto Press, 1999. A book based on her dissertation, Hiroshima Immigrants in Canada, 1891-1941 was published in November 2007 by UBC Press.

    This program was made possible by the generous support of the UCLA Paul I. & Hisako Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies

    2:00 PM

    Sunday, August 15, 2010

    Good Food, Classic Recipes & the Remarkable Story of Hawai‘i’s Mixed Plate -- Special Book Talk & Signing of Kau Kau: Cuisine and Culture in the Hawaiian Islands

    Kau kau: It’s the all-purpose pidgin word for food, probably derived from the Chinese “chow chow.” On Hawai‘i’s sugar and pineapple plantations, kau kau came to encompass the amazing range of foods brought to the Islands by immigrant laborers from East and West: Japanese, Portuguese, Filipinos, Puerto Ricans, Koreans and others. On the plantations, lunch break was “kau kau time,” and the kau kau could be anything from adobo to chow fun to tsukemono.

    In Kau Kau: Cuisine and Culture in the Hawaiian Islands, author Arnold Hiura—a writer with roots in the plantation culture—explores the rich history and heritage of food in Hawai‘i, with littleknown culinary tidbits, interviews with chefs and farmers, and a treasury of rare photos and illustrations.

    2:00 PM

    Sunday, August 22, 2010

    Exhibition Closing

    Textured Lives: Japanese Immigrant Clothing From the Plantations of Hawai'I closes.