Japanese American National Museum
Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - December 12, 2017

Leslie Unger - - 213-830-5690


Los Angeles

The Japanese American National Museum (JANM) will present its annual Oshogatsu Family Festival on Sunday, January 7, 2018, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission to the new year celebration featuring Japanese and Japanese American performances, crafts, and activities is free and all ages are welcome to help ring in the Year of the Dog.

Highlights of the day will include a Japanese-style lion dance; two mochitsuki (rice pounding) demonstrations, with mochi samples for tasting; a drawing demonstration and book signing by comic book creator Stan Sakai, famous for his Usagi Yojimbo series; and sample bowls of lucky zaru soba (cold buckwheat noodles) to bring good health in the New Year. There will also be a variety of craft activities, book readings, souvenir photos, a koto performance, and more. JANM members are eligible for a number of special privileges, which are noted in the full slate of activities below.


  • Get into the spirit of the new year by making a hat that looks like a dog.
  • Set a goal for the year and make a decorative paper daruma.
  • Pose for a souvenir photo at the Nerdbot Photo Booth. (Express Line for members.)
  • Learn how to fold a barking paper dog at Ruthie’s Origami Corner.
  • Enter the Kids’ raffle to win a candy sculpture or children’s plate set. While supplies last. Limit one (1) raffle ticket per child. (Members receive two chances to win a prize.)
  • Learn about the qualities of people born in the Year of the Dog, as well as the 11 other signs of the Asian zodiac at the coloring station.
  • The museum’s youngest visitors can head to the Toddler Room to relax, play with other small children, or watch the animated film The Secret Life of Pets, which will be playing continuously all day. NOTE: All children must be supervised by an accompanying adult at all times.
  • The JANM Store will have fukubukuro (lucky grab bags) for purchase.


11 a.m.–2 p.m.: Foster/Adopt a dog
Meet dogs that need a permanent home and learn about a fostering program presented in partnership with Dogs Without Borders.

11 a.m.–3 p.m.: Lucky Soba Noodles
Kidding Around the Kitchen will hand out sample bowls of lucky zaru soba (cold buckwheat noodles) to bring good health in the New Year. Kids can top the soba with their choice of tofu, vegetables, and nori. While supplies last.

11:30 a.m.: Storytime and Book Signing
Author and artist Joel Nakamura will read his newly-published book I Dreamed I Was a Dog and sign copies, available for purchase at the JANM Store, after the reading.

11:30 a.m.–5 p.m.: Candy Sculptures
Shan Ichiyanagi will demonstrate the ancient, and now rarely practiced, Asian folk art of candy sculpting, as he makes candy in the shape of dogs and other animals of the Asian zodiac. Finished pieces will be offered as prizes for the Kids’ raffle noted above.

12 p.m.–4:30 p.m.: Osechi-Ryori Tasting
Sample a selection of traditional Japanese New Year foods, including various sweets and vegetables, and learn about what each dish means. While supplies last. (Express Line for members.)

12:30 p.m.: Storytime
A JANM volunteer will read Yoshito Wayne Osaki’s critically acclaimed children’s book My Dog Teny, an autobiographical tale about the author’s own dog, whom he had to leave behind when he was incarcerated at Tule Lake concentration camp as a child during World War II.

1 p.m.–2 p.m.: Stan Sakai Drawing Demo and Book Signing
Stan Sakai, the talented artist behind the graphic novel hero Usagi Yojimbo, will hold a drawing demonstration followed by a book signing. Copies of his latest two books, Usagi Yojimbo Vol. 31: The Hell Screen and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Usagi Yojimbo, will be available for purchase in the JANM Store. (Reserved seating for members.)

1:30 p.m.–2 p.m.: Koto Performance
Los Angeles based musician Yuki Yasuda will play the traditional Japanese stringed instrument.

2:30 p.m. and 4:15 p.m.: Mochitsuki Demonstration by Kodama Taiko
Kodama Taiko will present its unique mochitsuki (rice pounding) demonstration, which incorporates taiko drumming, and enjoy delicious mochi samples while supplies last.

3:30 p.m.–4 p.m.: Japanese-Style Lion Dance
Take in a lively shishimai (Japanese-style lion dance) for good luck, accompanied by Kinnara Taiko. Reserved seating for members.

Exhibitions on view for Oshogatsu Family Festival include JANM’s ongoing core exhibition, Common Ground: The Heart of Community, and Transpacific Borderlands: The Art of Japanese Diaspora in Lima, Los Angeles, Mexico City, and São Paulo, which is part of the Getty-led Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA initiative taking place at cultural institutions across Southern California.

January 7 will also mark the first public viewing day of Contested Histories: Art and Artifacts from the Allen Hendershott Eaton Collection. The display in the museum’s Hirasaki National Resource Center will showcase conserved items from the Eaton Collection, which was saved by the Japanese American community from the auction block in 2015. The museum hopes to collect more information about each artifact so that it can continue to preserve and catalog this important collection. The display will begin touring elsewhere in the United States later in 2018.

For more information, visit

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Transpacific Borderlands: The Art of Japanese Diaspora in Lima, Los Angeles, Mexico City, and São Paulo
Through February 25, 2018
Transpacific Borderlands: The Art of Japanese Diaspora in Lima, Los Angeles, Mexico City, and São Paulo examines the experiences of artists of Japanese ancestry born, raised, or living in either Latin America or predominantly Latin American neighborhoods of Southern California. By looking at the work of Japanese Latin American artists, the exhibition shows how ethnic communities, racial mixing, and the concepts of homeland and cosmopolitanism inform the creativity and aesthetics of this hybrid culture. Transpacific Borderlands is part of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, a Getty-led initiative exploring Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles, and is made possible through grants from the Getty Foundation. The presenting sponsor of PST: LA/LA is Bank of America.


Common Ground: The Heart of Community
Incorporating hundreds of objects, documents, and photographs collected by JANM, this exhibition chronicles 130 years of Japanese American history, from the early days of the Issei pioneers through the World War II incarceration to the present.

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About the Japanese American National Museum (JANM)

Established in 1985, the Japanese American National Museum promotes understanding and appreciation of America’s ethnic and cultural diversity by sharing the Japanese American experience. Located in the historic Little Tokyo district of downtown Los Angeles, JANM is a hybrid institution that straddles traditional museum categories and strives to provide a voice for Japanese Americans as well as a forum that enables all people to explore their own heritage and culture. Since opening to the public, JANM has presented over 70 exhibitions onsite and traveled 17 of its exhibitions to locations around the world, including the Smithsonian Institution and the Ellis Island Museum in the United States, and several leading cultural museums in Japan and South America.

JANM is located at 100 N. Central Ave., Los Angeles. Museum hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursday from noon to 8 p.m. General admission is $12 adults, $6 students and seniors, free for members and children under age five. Admission is free to everyone on Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and every third Thursday of the month from noon to 8 p.m. General admission prices and free admission times may not apply to specially ticketed exhibitions. Closed Monday, 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. For more information visit or call 213.625.0414.



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