Japanese American National Museum
Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - January 30, 2019

Leslie Unger - - 213-830-5690


Los Angeles

The Japanese American National Museum is collaborating with The Nippon Foundation on a large-scale, global research project to learn how young people of Japanese ancestry (Nikkei) experience and express their Japanese heritage. This project, the first of its kind, aims to deepen the understanding of Nikkei communities in the Japanese diaspora, including their differences and similarities, and their needs and challenges now and in the future.

The project will target Nikkei ages 18 to 35, regardless of when their ancestors emigrated from Japan, their destination country, or where the individuals now reside. The research will gather data from participants regarding demographics, the prevalence of Japanese cultural activities and influences in their lives, and their connectedness to local Nikkei communities and to Japan. An online survey, available in four languages (English, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish), to gather this information was launched this week:

The survey will be available until February 28, 2019.

Following the survey, focus groups will be convened in ten countries including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Japan, the Netherlands, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The team leading this research includes Dr. Curtiss Takada Rooks, Senior Research Associate and Assistant Professor of Asian Pacific American Studies at Loyola Marymount University, and Dr. Lindsey Sasaki Kogasaka, Assistant Director of Study Abroad at Pomona College. Rooks’ research focuses on ethnic and multiracial identity, ethnic community development, and cultural competency in community health and wellness. Kogasaka specializes in cross-cultural exchange and training, international migration, and the Asian diaspora in Latin America.

The Nippon Foundation, which initiated this project and selected JANM as its partner, was established in 1962 as a nonprofit philanthropic organization, active in Japan and around the world. Its range of activities encompasses education, social welfare, public health, and other fields—carried out in more than 100 countries to date. Together with numerous partner organizations in Japan and worldwide, it funds and assists community-led efforts aimed at realizing a more peaceful and prosperous global society.

The Japanese American National Museum is the first museum in the United States dedicated to sharing the experience of Americans of Japanese ancestry as an integral part of the nation’s history. Through its comprehensive collection of Japanese American objects, images, and documents as well as exhibitions, educational programs, documentaries, and publications, JANM shares the Japanese American story with local, national, and international audiences.

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Kaiju vs Heroes: Mark Nagata’s Journey through the World of Japanese Toys
Through March 24, 2019
In California in the 1970s, Mark Nagata was living an all-American childhood when an aunt and uncle serving on a US military base in Japan sent him a box filled with some of that country’s most popular toys. They were kaiju and heroes, and these gifts inspired him to zealously collect vintage Japanese vinyl toys over the course of his entire life. Kaiju translates to “strange creature” in English but has come to mean “giant monster” referring to the creatures like Godzilla and Mothra that inhabited the postwar movie and television screens of Japan. The advent of these monsters brought about the creation of characters to combat them—hence the emergence of pop-culture heroes like Ultraman and Kamen Rider. Kaiju vs Heroes: Mark Nagata’s Journey through the World of Japanese Toys showcases hundreds of dazzling vintage and contemporary Japanese vinyl toys, providing a feast for the eyes and the imagination.

Gambatte! Legacy of an Enduring Spirit
Through April 28, 2019
Gambatte! Legacy of an Enduring Spirit features modern and historical photographs documenting the stories of Japanese Americans who were forcibly incarcerated during World War II. Large-format contemporary photos taken by Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Paul Kitagaki Jr. are displayed next to images shot 75 years ago by such noted photographers as Dorothea Lange, Ansel Adams, and others; each pairing features the same individuals, or their direct descendants, as the subject matter. Inspired by the Japanese concept of gambatte—to triumph over adversity—the exhibition chronicles the strength and legacy of a generation of Japanese Americans who persevered over unimaginable hardship.

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. In commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, the final section of Common Ground has been reimagined to further emphasize the redress movement, the landmark passage of the Act, and its relevance today.


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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