FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - December 14, 2016


Leslie Unger - - 213-830-5690



The Japanese American National Museum will host a four-week series of “Common Ground Conversations” in the galleries of its Common Ground: The Heart of Community exhibition beginning January 12, 2017. Sessions will take place on consecutive Thursday evenings from 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and each will focus on a different topic. Staff members of the museum’s education department will lead each session and facilitate the discussions. Admission is free.

Following are the topics for each conversation:

January 12: Compassion
January 19: Transparency
January 26: Speaking out
February 2: Solidarity

Common Ground features hundreds of objects, documents, and photographs that chronicle 130 years of Japanese American history, beginning with the first generation of immigrants to the United States (Issei). The World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans as well as the military service of Japanese Americans during the war are prominently explored. Elements of the exhibition will serve as jumping-off points to start each week’s conversation. The series is intended to allow guests to participate in meaningful exchanges centered on the week’s topic, using Japanese American history to delve into contemporary issues and current concerns.

No tickets or RSVPs are required. “Common Ground Conversations” coincide with JANM’s free admission on Thursdays starting at 5 p.m.

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Uprooted: Japanese American Farm Labor Camps During World War II
Through January 8, 2017
Between 1942 and 1944, thousands of incarcerated Japanese Americans were moved from concentration camps to farm labor camps as a way to mitigate the wartime labor shortage. In the summer of 1942, Farm Security Administration (FSA) photographer Russell Lee documented four such camps in Oregon and Idaho, capturing the laborers’ day-to-day lives in evocative detail. Uprooted: Japanese American Farm Labor Camps During World War II presents a selection of those images, many of which have never before been exhibited.

Tatau: Marks of Polynesia
Extended through January 22, 2017
Tatau: Marks of Polynesia explores Samoan tattoo practice through photographs that showcase the work of traditional tatau masters alongside more contemporary manifestations of the art form. Curated by author and master tattoo artist Takahiro “Ryudaibori” Kitamura with photography by John Agcaoili, Tatau highlights the beauty of the Samoan tattoo tradition as well as its key role in the preservation and propagation of Samoan culture.

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.

Special Display—Only the Oaks Remain: The Story of Tuna Canyon Detention Station
Through April 9, 2017
This special display tells the true stories of those targeted as dangerous enemy aliens and imprisoned in the Tuna Canyon Detention Station, located in the Tujunga neighborhood of Los Angeles, by the US Department of Justice during World War II. Photographs, letters, and diaries bring the experiences of imprisoned Japanese, German, and Italian immigrants and Japanese Peruvians to life. This project was organized by the Tuna Canyon Detention Station Coalition; funded, in part, by a grant from the US Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program; and sponsored by the San Fernando Valley Japanese American Community Center.

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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 $10 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.