FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - December 15, 2014


Leslie Unger - - 213-830-5690



The Japanese American National Museum will hold its annual Oshogatsu Family Festival on Sunday, January 4, 2015, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The new year celebration will include free crafts, performances, and other activities for people of all ages to help ring in the Year of the Sheep.

Highlights of the day will include demonstrations of the ancient Asian folk art of candy sculpting, a petting zoo, and mochitsuki (rice pounding) demonstrations.

The complete schedule for January 4 follows.

All Day Activities:

  • Visitors can make their own daruma dolls, a popular Japanese tradition. Daruma dolls are used to help set goals for the new year.

  • JANM volunteer Ruthie Kitagawa will show visitors how to fold an origami sheep.

  • Yarn and construction paper will be available for crafting into sheep.

  • Toddlers can have fun or relax with an adult who brought them in the JANM toddler room.

Scheduled activities:

  • 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.: JANM volunteer Kathryn Madara will read from How the Years Were Named, a story about the animals of the Asian zodiac.

  • 12 p.m.–3 p.m.: Balloon Monsoon will create and give away balloons in the shape of sheep. (For children only, while supplies last.)

  • 12 p.m.–5 p.m.: Shan Ichiyanagi will demonstrate the ancient, and now rarely practiced, Asian folk art of candy sculpting. Finished pieces will be raffled off throughout the day.

  • 1 p.m.–1:30 p.m.: Taikoza, a group that uses traditional Japanese instruments to create a contemporary sound, will present a short performance on koto (zither) and shakuhachi (flute).

  • 1 p.m.–4 p.m.: Live sheep and goats from Jessica’s Party Animals will be featured in a petting zoo.

  • 1 p.m.–5 p.m.: Kidding Around the Kitchen will give out sample bowls of lucky zaru soba (buckwheat noodles) to bring good health in the new year.

  • 1 p.m.–5 p.m.: Hello Kitty, the subject of JANM’s Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty, will be on hand to share hugs.

  • 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.: Kodama Taiko will present its unique mochitsuki (rice pounding) demonstration, which incorporates taiko drumming.

  • 3 p.m.: UniverSoul Hip Hop, a community-based group dedicated to educating and enriching youth by bringing hip hop dance and culture to K-12 classrooms, will perform.

Admission to JANM’s ongoing Common Ground: The Heart of Community exhibition is free during Oshogatsu. Admission to the special exhibition Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty is not included. All Hello! admissions are based on timed entry; advance purchase of tickets is strongly recommended.

For more information about JANM’s 2015 Oshogatsu Family Festival, visit


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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.

Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty
Through April 26, 2015
Organized as part of the global icon’s 40th-anniversary celebrations, Hello! examines the colorful history of Hello Kitty and her influence on popular culture. The exhibition includes an extensive product survey, with rare and unique items from the Sanrio archives, alongside a selection of innovative contemporary artworks inspired by Hello Kitty and her world. Hello! is a specially ticketed exhibition.

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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 6 of its exhibitions to over 30 locations, 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 $9 adults, $5 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.