Japanese American National Museum
Press Releases


Chris Komai - - 213-830-5690


Los Angeles

A free outdoor screening of the classic Sam Fuller movie, The Crimson Kimono (1959), will be held in the plaza of the Japanese American National Museum on Thursday, October 17, beginning at 8 p.m. This event is part of the annual Haunted Little Tokyo Film Festival and is organized in partnership with Visual Communications and JANM.

The Crimson Kimono is a groundbreaking film on several levels. Fuller cast Japanese American actor James Shigeta in the lead role of Joe Kojaku, a Los Angeles Police Department detective. Though a murder motivates the plot, Fuller centered his movie on the love triangle between Kojaku, his partner Sgt. Charlie Bancroft (Glenn Corbett), and their love interest, Christine Downes (Victoria Shaw). This was during an era when happy romances between men and women of different races were never depicted in film.

Ultimately, Downes chooses Kojaku, a rare movie event where an Asian American man is coupled with a non-Asian woman. However, pairing a white man with an Asian woman was almost a movie norm at this time. The Fuller love triangle creates racial tensions between the friends, who were both veterans of the Korean War, because Kojaku feels Bancroft is prejudiced against his relationship to a white woman.

From a historic perspective, The Crimson Kimono was filmed in 1958 and provides an invaluable glimpse at what Little Tokyo was like 60 years ago. Several scenes are filmed in and around the neighborhood, including inside the Koyasan Buddhist Temple. The movie culminates with Kojaku chasing the murderer through the actual 1958 Nisei Week Parade line-up. At this time, the parade was always held at night.

A limited number of chairs will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Participants can bring their own portable chairs and blankets as long as they are mindful in not blocking the screen for other viewers. Light refreshments will be available through Buttery Popcorn Co. This program is made possible in part through the support of the Los Angeles County Arts and Culture.

Admission to JANM is free that day from 12 noon to 7:30 p.m. as part of the Free Third Thursday program. The At First Light: Dawning of Asian Pacific America exhibition, a collaboration between Visual Communications and JANM, will be closing on October 20. For more information on The Crimson Kimono screening or the At First Light exhibition, call the Japanese American National Museum at 213.625.0414.


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At First Light: The Dawning of Asian Pacific America
Through October 20, 2019
At First Light: The Dawning of Asian Pacific America is a multi-media exhibition that explores and celebrates the emergence of a politically defined Asian Pacific American consciousness and identity. A co-production of Visual Communications (VC) and the Japanese American National Museum, At First Light chronicles the transformation of the un-American categorization of “Oriental” to the political identity of “Asian Pacific American” that rejected racist stereotypes, stood up for human rights, recovered lost histories, and created new cultural expressions. The exhibition draws from the collections of VC, the first Asian Pacific American media organization in the country, which formed in Los Angeles in 1970 to capture and cultivate the newfound unity that was Asian Pacific America. The resiliency and resistance embodied in At First Light serve as a reminder—as well as a call to action—of what can be accomplished when people unite as a community with commitment.

Fighting for Democracy: Who is the “We” in “We, the People”?
Through January 5, 2020
     We, the people, shape democracy;
     I, too, can shape democracy;
     Those who have struggled for freedom and equality have extended democracy’s reach for all.

Fighting for Democracy: Who is the “We” in “We, the People”? is an experimental exhibition based on these fundamental principles. It features seven real people and traces their stories throughout the prewar, World War II, and post-war periods as examples of the millions of Americans whose lives were affected by the war and how each sought equal rights for their families and communities.

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), a Smithsonian Affiliate
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 nearly 100 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. Effective August 16, admission will be $16 for adults, and $7 for students and seniors. 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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