Leslie Unger - - 213-830-5690



JANM's 2019 Natsumatsuri Family FestivalLos Angeles, CA—The Japanese American National Museum (JANM) will present its annual Natsumatsuri Family Festival on Saturday, August 10, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission to the summer celebration featuring Japanese and Japanese American performances, crafts, and activities is free.

Craft activities will include origami, shave ice suncatchers, and JANM’s ever-popular paper hat making. Visitors will also be able to sample saataa andaagii (deep-fried Okinawan pastries), participate in a bon odori community dance, and enjoy two book readings. Kishin Daiko will perform, as will gayageum player Joyce Kwon.

Exhibitions on view for Natsumatsuri include At First Light: The Dawning of Asian Pacific America, on view through October 20, and JANM’s ongoing core exhibition, Common Ground: The Heart of Community.

Following is the complete schedule for the 2019 Natsumatsuri Family Festival.


Summer Photo Booth: Grab some fun props from Nerdbot and take a souvenir photo with friends and family!

Ruthie’s Origami Corner: Learn to fold a yukata (summer kimono), popular attire during Japanese summer festivals.

Summertime Suncatchers: Create a decorative shave ice suncatcher to hang in your window!

Paper Hats: A JANM summer tradition! Design your own unique paper hat to keep you cool while you have fun in the sun.

Okinawan Treats: Sample fresh saataa andaagii (Okinawan deep-fried pastries). One per person, while supplies last. Express lane for members!

Scavenger Hunt: Explore JANM’s current exhibitions, find all the items on our scavenger hunt list, and win a prize. One per participant, while supplies last.

Toddler Room: Check out this cheerful place for parents and toddlers to relax and play. Note: All children must be supervised by an accompanying adult at all times.


11:30 p.m.–12 p.m.: Taiko Demonstration
Learn taiko drumming from JANM volunteer Hal Keimi! Taiko is a traditional form of Japanese percussion using a variety of drums, some very large. Taiko playing is loud, hard, and fast, and involves choreographed movements that mirrors Japanese martial arts. Reserved seating for members!

12 p.m.–1 p.m.: Obon Lecture and Community Dance
Learn about Japan’s obon festivals, which honor and celebrate the spirits of ancestors, with Rimban William Briones of the Los Angeles Hompa Hongwanji Buddhist Temple. A group bon odori (traditional dance) will then be led by Elaine Fukumoto.

1 p.m.–1:45 p.m.: The Little Kokeshi Doll from Fukushima Book Reading
Join author/illustrator Sunny Seki as he reads from his book and discusses the evolution of kokeshi dolls. He will demonstrate his lathe, and conclude with a presentation of his life-sized dolls in an interactive kokeshi fashion show.

1 p.m.–4 p.m.: Face Painting
Put on your best summer festival face with Party Face Magic. For children only. Express lane for members!

1:45 p.m.–2:15 p.m.: Performance by Joyce Kwon
Joyce Kwon is a singer-songwriter and gayageum player hailing from Los Angeles. She studied jazz voice in New York City as well as traditional Korean music in Seoul, and now makes folk music influenced by the diaspora. Reserved seating for members!

2 p.m.–2:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m.–4 p.m.: Performances by Voices Carry
Voices Carry will presents With Memories On Their Backs, a dance theater performance honoring the plight of refugees. The audience will follow the dancers throughout the museum, experiencing the emotions of a refugee’s journey.

2:15 p.m.–3 p.m.: Ninja Mom and the Tengonis in the Tiki Book Reading
Join author Ren Hanami and illustrator Don Schmidt for a reading of their book in which a group of monsters is accidentally unleashed on the first day of young Kimi’s ninja training. Kimi will need help from her ninja mom, inventor dad, and grandmother warrior bachan to get through her first ninja lesson! Hanami and Schmidt will also sign copies of the book purchased from the JANM Store.

4 p.m.–4:40 p.m.: Illusions by Allen
Check out Allen Roy Oshiro’s exciting magic act, which includes a live rabbit and doves! Oshiro has been performing magic since the age of five, has been featured on television, and won first-place in the Magic Corner Battle of the Magicians. Reserved seating for members!

4:40 p.m.–5 p.m.: Kishin Daiko Performance
Finish up the fun-filled day with a performance by Kishin Daiko, a multi-ethnic, multi-generational taiko group founded at the East San Gabriel Valley Japanese Community Center in 1981. Reserved seating for members!

Sponsors of JANM’s Natsumatsuri Family Festival include the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, The Nissan Foundation, and the Department of Cultural Affairs, Los Angeles.

For more information and to RSVP, visit Attendees who RSVP in advance and show their ticket(s) at the JANM Membership table during Natsumatsuri, will be entered in a drawing to win a one-year Family/Dual Level membership.



# # #



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.

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.