Japanese American National Museum
Press Releases


Leslie Unger - - 213-830-5690


Los Angeles

The Japanese American National Museum (JANM) will present its annual Natsumatsuri Family Festival on Saturday, August 18, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission to the summer celebration featuring Japanese and Japanese American performances, crafts, and activities is free.

Highlights of the day will include performances by San Fernando Valley Taiko and TAIKOPROJECT, a hula performance, three traditional Japanese tea ceremonies, a photo booth, and a scavenger hunt. Craft activities will include origami, sunglass decorating, coloring projects, and JANM’s ever-popular paper hat making. Visitors will also be able to sample saataa andaagii (deep-fried Okinawan pastries), participate in a bon odori community dance, and enjoy performances by a capella group The Grateful 4 and the Asia America Youth Symphony Jazz Quartet.

Exhibitions on view for Natsumatsuri include – 15 years of the hapa project, on view through October 28, and JANM’s ongoing core exhibition, Common Ground: The Heart of Community. In commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, Common Ground will feature a redesigned final section, beginning August 4, placing even more emphasis on the accomplishments of the redress movement. This exhibition will include, through September 23, two original pages from the Act on loan from the National Archives.

Following is the complete schedule for Natsumatsuri Family Festival.


Summer Photo Booth: Grab some fun props from Nerdbot and take a souvenir photo with friends and family. Express Line for members.

Summer Shades: Decorate some snazzy sunglasses to show off your style this summer.

Paper Hats: A JANM summer tradition! Design your own unique paper hat.

Ruthie’s Origami Corner: Learn to fold a paper lantern, a colorful summer festival decoration!

Bubble Fun: Make bubbles with Bubblemania and Co. using wands shaped like flowers, butterflies, dinosaurs, dolphins, and more! We’ll also have bubble hoops that make giant bubbles and bubble racquets and baskets that let bunches of bubbles swirl and float around. Express Line for members.

Face Painting: Put on your best summer festival face with Party Magic Face. For children only. Line ends at 4:30 p.m. Express Line for members.

Okinawan Treats: Sample fresh saataa andaagii—deep-fried pastries. Limit one per person, while supplies last. Express Line for members.

Multicultural Coloring Projects with MASC: Take part in a multicultural art project hosted by Multiracial Americans of Southern California (MASC). MASC creates activities and designs programs to educate, advocate for, and promote social justice for the multicultural, multiracial, and transracially-adopted community to increase awareness and understanding around this community.

Scavenger Hunt: Take some time to explore JANM’s exhibitions, find all the items on our scavenger hunt list, and win a prize. One per participant, while supplies last.

Toddler Room: Check out this cheerful place for parents and toddlers to relax and play. Disney’s Big Hero 6—in which a young tech whiz named Hiro saves his city with the help of his inflatable robot Baymax, as well as his friends Go Go Tomago, Wasabi, Honey Lemon, and Fre—will be playing all day. All children must be supervised by an accompanying adult at all times.


11:15 a.m.–12 p.m.: San Fernando Valley Taiko Performance and Demonstration Kick off the day with an entertaining performance by San Fernando Valley Taiko. Join them on stage after their performance for an interactive taiko lesson. Reserved seating for members.

12 p.m.–12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m.–2 p.m., and 2:30 p.m.–3 p.m.: Traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony Join expert Masayo Young as she performs a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. Young will prepare and serve green tea (matcha) with traditional sweets. Space is limited; please sign up at the information table. Reserved seating for members.

12:30 p.m.–1:30 p.m.: Obon Lecture and Community Dance Learn about Japan’s obon festival, which honors and celebrates the spirits of ancestors, with Rimban William Briones of Los Angeles Hompa Hongwanji Buddhist Temple. Elaine Fukumoto will then lead a group bon odori (traditional dance). Reserved seating for members.

2 p.m.–2:20 p.m.: The Grateful 4 Performance Grateful Crane Ensemble is a non-profit theater company that pays tribute to the unique hardships and inspiring contributions of Japanese Americans. The Grateful 4 debuted in October 2016 as Grateful Crane’s Yonsei a capella group. Reserved seating for members.

2:45 p.m.–3:15 p.m.: Hula Performance Kaulana Ka Hale Kula O Na Pua O Ka Aina will perform and invite families to dance along with them. Reserved seating for members.

3:40 p.m.–4 p.m.: Asia America Youth Symphony Jazz Quartet Performance Snap your fingers to the music of the Asia America Youth Symphony Jazz Quartet. The AAYS is dedicated to developing and mentoring young musicians by providing educational and performing opportunities in a professional environment and integrating Eastern and Western influences. Reserved seating for members.

4:15 p.m.–5 p.m.: TAIKOPROJECT Performance
The award-winning TAIKOPROJECT will bring the family festival to a close with a high-energy performance.

This year’s Natsumatsuri, which is free, coincides with the conclusion of Nisei Week, which runs August 11-19. Adult visitors to JANM who mention Nisei Week during that time period will pay only $6 for admission (instead of the regular $12). In addition to being free for everyone on August 18, admission to JANM on August 4 and 10 will be Pay What You Wish.

Sponsors of JANM’s Natsumatsuri Family Festival include the Los Angeles County Arts Commission; Department of Cultural Affairs, Los Angeles; and the Nissan Foundation.

For more information, visit

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What We Carried: Memories & Fragments from Iraq & Syria
Through August 5, 2018
This exhibition of photographs by Jim Lommasson captures cherished personal objects brought to the United States by Iraqi and Syrian refugees who successfully resettled here. Bearing handwritten notes by their owners that explain what the objects mean to them, these moving, intimate images are a testimony to the common threads that bind all of humanity: love for family, friendship, and the places people call home. – 15 years of the hapa project
Through October 28, 2018
Artist Kip Fulbeck continues his project, begun in 2001, of photographing persons who identify as “hapa”—of mixed Asian/Pacific Islander descent—as a means of promoting awareness and positive acceptance of multiracial identity. As a follow-up to kip fulbeck: part asian, 100% hapa, his groundbreaking 2006 exhibition, pairs the photographs and statements from that exhibition with contemporary portraits of the same individuals and newly written statements, showing not only their physical changes in the ensuing years, but also changes in their perspectives and outlooks on the world. In addition, includes portraits of hundreds of new participants and an interactive section where, on select days, viewers can join the community by having their portrait taken and writing their own personal statement.

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.

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 80 exhibitions onsite and traveled 20 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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