FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - February 21, 2019
Leslie Unger - firstname.lastname@example.org - 213-830-5690
"KAIJU VS HEROES" BATTLES ON AT JAPANESE AMERICAN NATIONAL MUSEUM
Exhibition extended and Kaiju-Con announced for June 15
Kaiju vs Heroes: Mark Nagata’s Journey through the World of Japanese Toys, which features hundreds of contemporary and vintage Japanese vinyl toys, has been extended on view at the Japanese American National Museum through July 7, 2019. The exhibition is included in regular admission to the museum. In conjunction with the exhibition’s extension, the museum will host a day-long separately ticketed Kaiju-Con on June 15, 2019.
Kaiju-Con will include a vendor hall, workshops, panel discussions, and demonstrations all related to kaiju and Japanese toys. It will culminate in a special free outdoor screening of Godzilla (2014), at 8:30 p.m., on the museum’s plaza. The Warner Bros. release is rated PG-13.
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 colorful kaiju and hero toys. Kaiju translates to “strange creature” in English but has come to mean “monster” or “giant monster” referring to the creatures 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. For Nagata, those toys and the artwork of their packaging inspired him to study art, to zealously collect vintage Japanese vinyl toys, and to become a toy designer himself. At one point, Nagata’s pursuit of these Japanese toys took him on a journey to Japan that brought new and unexpected connections to his cultural identity as an American of Japanese ancestry. Kaiju vs Heroes showcases hundreds of dazzling vintage and contemporary Japanese vinyl toys and demonstrates how something as seemingly insignificant as a child’s plaything can help inspire an exploration of one’s identity.
Nagata’s toys and artwork have previously been displayed at the Pasadena Museum of California Art (Beyond Ultraman: Seven Artists Explore the Vinyl Frontier, 2007) and at SFO Museum at San Francisco International Airport (Japanese Toys! From Kokeshi to Kaiju, 2013–2014).
Kaiju-Con tickets, which will include same-day museum admission, go on sale May 1. Early bird pricing, through May 31, is $25 for adults ($20 for JANM members) and $20 for youth ages 6–17 ($15 for JANM members). On June 1, prices increase to $30 for adults ($25 for JANM members) and $25 for youth ($20 for JANM members). All children 5 and under are free with a paying adult.
The JANM Store continues to stock a number of limited edition and JANM exclusives related to the exhibition. In addition, fans can purchase an Eyezon t-shirt for $25 and a Kaiju vs Heroes mug, featuring original artwork by Nagata, for $15. An accompanying book about and by Nagata, Toy Karma, is available for $24.95.
The Freeman Foundation is the Major Sponsor of Kaiju vs Heroes: Mark Nagata’s Journey through the World of Japanese Toys. Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles, is Associate Sponsor.
For more information about Kaiju vs Heroes and related programming, visit janm.org/kaiju-vs-heroes.
NOW ON VIEW AT JANM:
Kaiju vs Heroes: Mark Nagata’s Journey through the World of Japanese Toys
Through July 7, 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 janm.org or call 213.625.0414.