Amy & Penelope Hill

Amy Hill’s “LOST AND FOUND, Life as I (K)NEW It” at JANM this weekend!

Amy Hill will be at the museum this weekend for 3 performances of her show, “LOST AND FOUND, Life as I (K)NEW It.”

Amy & Penelope HillOctober 1 @ 7 pm
October 2 @ 2 pm & 7 pm

Amy Hill explores how her life has evolved since her daughter became a part of her family. She talks about adoption, single motherhood, multiracial/transracial identity mash-ups and her continuing struggles to figure it all out in a humorous and honest way. Far from her days of flying solo, she has moved into a not so solo world: her daughter may or may not make an appearance.

Read our interview with Amy about the show:

Lost and Found: Amy Hill on Adoption and Identity
By Mia Nakaji Monnier

Watch a teaser of the show:

 

Purchase tickets >>

$15 Members, Students, Groups (10+), Seniors
$20 non-members

*Special: $5 families who have adopted. For discount rates, email Koji Steven Sakai at ksakai@janm.org for password!

Becoming American? Reintroducing Issei Artist Yasuo Kuniyoshi

Next Saturday, on September 24th at 2pm, Dr. ShiPu Wang will be at the Museum to talk about his book, Becoming American? The Art and Identity Crisis of Yasuo Kuniyoshi.

Yasuo Kuniyoshi was one of the preeminent 20th century American artists. He was active in New York as a teacher and in both artist circles and Japanese American organizations from pre-war until his death in 1953. At the time, he was an internationally known painter and graphic artist, but sadly is not well known now, particularly in the Japanese American community.

Becoming American? is the first scholarly book in over two decades to offer a critical evaluation of the pivotal art of Yasuo Kuniyoshi.

We asked one of our volunteer writers to interview Dr. Wang about the book for our Discover Nikkei website:

Becoming American? Reintroducing Issei Artist Yasuo Kuniyoshi >>

For more info about the program on September 24 >>

Discover Nikkei -Taiko Groups

Discover Nikkei Taiko Database returns!

In 2005, we opened the Big Drum: Taiko in the United States exhibition. It was the first exhibition since my joining the Web unit at JANM where we really developed a lot of cool resources online in conjunction with an exhibit. I had the opportunity to work with curator Sojin Kim, our web technologist Geoff Jost, and volunteer writers to develop & upload a lot of great historic and contemporary photosactivities, and articles on the exhibition site.

I also worked with Discover Nikkei coordinator Yoko Nishimura and staff at our Watase Media Arts Center to add many wonderful video interview clips on our Discover Nikkei website.

The other major component we developed was a database of taiko groups in the U.S., but also included some other groups outside of Japan. We set up the database using some basic info collected for the exhibition. Then, we contacted all of the groups and invited them to log in and update/add to their group info, and upload some photos & audio clips.

Although most never logged in, there were quite a few groups that did participate. The most notable was San Jose Taiko who added extensive information about their group’s history. Others included Portland Taiko, Fubuki Taiko, Somei Yoshino Taiko, and University of Tasmania Taiko Society.

It was always so interesting to look at what groups had added information because it showed the growth and popularity of taiko. There were groups all over the U.S. (even in places where there aren’t many Japanese Americans), and many in Canada, and even in Europe (there are 4 groups listed in Belgium)!

After the initial activity during the exhibition run, not many of the groups updated their info. When the redesigned Discover Nikkei site went live in July 2009, we launched it without the Taiko Database, always intending to add it back in once we had some time to work on it.

It’s been 2 years, but I’m really excited that we recently launched our new & improved Taiko Groups section! It has the old database info, photos, and audio clips, but presented in a new layout with easier accessibility, and incorporates events posted by the groups onto their taiko group pages.

San Jose Taiko has already started updating their info and we hope that other groups will join them soon.

Check out the new & improved Taiko Groups >>

P.S. If you are with or know of any taiko groups, please encourage them to update their pages! It’s a great & free way to share your group’s contact info, general info, history, photos, audio clips, videos, and upcoming events!

If you need help with your group’s login info, or if your group is not already listed and you’d like to be added, contact editor@discovernikkei.org.

Discover Nikkei -Taiko Groups

Discover Nikkei Survey

Hello beautiful people!

My name is Maya Kochiyama and I am the new Discover Nikkei intern this summer at the Japanese American National Museum through the Nikkei Community Internship program.  I am entering my junior year at UC Berkeley as an Integrative Biology major.

As part of the Discover Nikkei staff, I would cordially like to invite you to take our Discover Nikkei Survey!

We are conducting this survey in hopes of learning more about the diverse array of Nikkei communities around the world.  The results from this survey will be analyzed and presented at the XVI COPANI (Conventions of the Association of Pan American Nikkei) Discover Nikkei Conference in Cancun, Mexico in September.

It’s a quick and easy 10-minute survey that may even get you thinking about your own cultural identity.

Here are the links to check it out!

ENGLISH:  http://5dn.org/copanisurvey-en
日本語:   http://5dn.org/copanisurvey-ja
ESPAÑOL:    http://5dn.org/copanisurvey-es
PORTUGUÊS:   http://5dn.org/copanisurvey-pt

If you have any questions, you can email editor@discovernikkei.org or contact me at mkochiyama@earthlink.net.

The last day to submit the survey is July 25th!

Thanks so much!  We greatly appreciate your support! 🙂

The Best Lunch Dates Around

As my fellow interns have mentioned, the JANM is not the place for a diet. The Japanese Village Plaza is less than a stone’s throw away, the area is full of froyo and sweets shops, and the staff room is filled daily with a plentiful bounty of docent-brought treats. In conjunction with my new existence as a sedentary, headphone wearing, video editing machine, I can feel the pounds piling on.  Flashbacks of my “Freshman Fifteen” come rushing back as I realize I am gaining what I’ve decided to call my “Getty Intern Gut.”

For ten weeks, I’ll forgo the summer California girl look of toned body and flawless tan, in exchange for a more pleasantly plump, florescent light-fostered glow.  Of course, the food and company I’ve had is well worth it.

I’ve found that times at the JANM are celebrated with great food.  Today marks the last day for another intern, Mia.  To commemorate the occasion, the whole office went to lunch.  And where else would the staff and interns of one of the largest Japanese American museums go but Chinatown.  (**Side note: Japanese people always seem to come together for Chinese food.  Be it a wedding, funeral, or family reunion, pan fried noodles always seem to beat out sticky rice for celebratory food.  It’s something I’ve never understood…)

Mia’s celebratory lunch was at a wonderful little dim sum restaurant.  We all had our fill of noodles stuffed with shrimp and beef, fried squid, rice, and Chinese vegetables.  The feast was delicious, and the company at the table couldn’t be beat.  One of the best things about these fantastic lunch dates is the friendships I can feel forming with the people I work with.  Sure, sometimes conversation turns to business: the Discover Nikkei files that still need to be looked over, or some new exhibition space.  But more often, deeper connections are made.

I’ve learned that Vicky has a thing for food photography.  Before a grain of rice goes into her mouth, at least one picture must be taken.  The result is a mouth watering online food diary whose size is comparable to that of the Museum archives.  I’ve learned that Yoko can speak three languages.  Geoff has a huge knowledge of science fiction literature.  I’ve learned that John, long-time Obon attendee, is going to dance at his first Obon this summer (the Media Arts department is still trying to get footage of him practicing—more on that to come, hopefully).

This internship has proved edifying in more ways than I can count.  I’m learning to shoot tape and edit video, sure, but I’m also learning about the people I work with, and the culture I come from.  I’m learning to love and accept it all–even my Getty Gut.  The trick, I’ve found, is not to run to the treadmill or the stair master.  Instead, all I can do is sit back, smile, and try to get some work done before the food coma sets in.

A Word From One of This Summer’s Getty Interns

And with each summer brings a new opportunity…

June gloom is finally beginning to burn off, and all my school friends are enjoying the break tanning on the beautiful Santa Barbara beach by day and partying by night.  I, instead, sit typing at my internship desk, with loaned keyboard, computer, and office space.  My days are filled with waking up earlier than I have in years, falling asleep, against my will, exhausted, the moment I get home, battling the 110 north, and having the time of my life at the National Museum.

My name is Alyctra Matsushita.  I’m going to be a senior at University of California, Santa Barbara (go Gauchos!), studying English and Asian American Studies.  I’m also the Japanese American National Museum’s Media Arts Intern, one of three undergraduate students commissioned for ten weeks to intern at the Museum by courtesy of the Getty Museum.

I’ve been here less than two weeks, but I’ve already learned so much.  I’ve met the huge multitude of volunteers–some of them several times over.  It feels like every time I walk into a room, I’m introduced to a new crop.  Even though there are gaggles of them, they’re each personable and kind—in the mornings they offer the interns coffee cake and other treats, they have potlucks and snacks, and every one has dozens of stories, from war memories and tales that they share willingly with my fellow interns, to gardening secrets and other gossip secretly whispered to more trusted fellow docents.

In the last two weeks, I’ve also learned more than I ever even knew existed about the multimedia world.  I’ve gotten to cut and edit tape to be used for the Discover Nikkei website—as a self-proclaimed Asian American Studies nerd, this was especially exciting because I’ve explored the site multiple times for both academic research, as well as recreation.  To see the behind the scenes work involved after exploring the site myself was especially satisfying.  I also did my first solo shoot—a book party with testimonials from the Japanese Americans from Lompoc!

All in all, the first two weeks have gone by quickly.  Getting the hang of things the first couple of days was a bit wracking, but now that I know what’s what, things are smooth sailing.  I’m very excited for the next eight weeks, and can only imagine the fun they will bring!

Staff Sergeant Joe Hayashi

 

My wife and I recently moved to northeast Pasadena. While on one of my walks in the new neighborhood, I was pleasantly surprised to find a memorial to not only a Japanese American Veteran but Medal of Honor Winner Staff Sergeant Joe Hayashi of Company K of the 442 Regemental Combat team.

I was inspired to learn more about what he did. So I went on Discover Nikkei and this is what I found:

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, March 3, 1863, has awarded in the name of The Congress the Medal of Honor to:

PRIVATE JOE HAYASHI, United States Army

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:

Private Joe Hayashi distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 20 and 22 April 1945, near Tendola, Italy. On 20 April 1945, ordered to attack a strongly defended hill that commanded all approaches to the village of Tendola, Private Hayashi skillfully led his men to a point within 75 yards of enemy positions before they were detected and fired upon. After dragging his wounded comrades to safety, he returned alone and exposed himself to small arms fire in order to direct and adjust mortar fire against hostile emplacements. Boldly attacking the hill with the remaining men of his squad, he attained his objective and discovered that the mortars had neutralized three machine guns, killed 27 men, and wounded many others.

On 22 April 1945, attacking the village of Tendola, Private Hayashi maneuvered his squad up a steep, terraced hill to within 100 yards of the enemy. Crawling under intense fire to a hostile machine gun position, he threw a grenade killing one enemy soldier and forcing the other members of the gun crew to surrender. Seeing four enemy machine guns delivering deadly fire upon other elements of his platoon, he threw another grenade, destroying a machine gun nest. He then crawled to the right flank of another machine gun position where he killed four enemy soldiers and forced the others to flee. Attempting to pursue the enemy, he was mortally wounded by a burst of machine pistol fire. The dauntless courage and exemplary leadership of Private Hayashi enabled his company to attain its objective.

Private Hayashi’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.

The memorial is located at Victory Park. If you know of other memorials, take a picture and send it to me at ksakai[a]janm.org and I’ll be sure to post it on our blog!

– Koji Steven Sakai/Manager of Public Programs

Miss Kato, Canadian Rodeo Queen, Los Angeles, California, 1955. Japanese American National Museum Toyo Miyatake/Rafu Shimpo Collection, photograph by Toyo Miyatake Studio, gift of the Alan Miyatake Family. (96.267.316)

Nikkei community newspapers

Miss Kato, Canadian Rodeo Queen, Los Angeles, California, 1955. Japanese American National Museum Toyo Miyatake/Rafu Shimpo Collection, photograph by Toyo Miyatake Studio, gift of the Alan Miyatake Family. (96.267.316)
Miss Kato, Canadian Rodeo Queen, Los Angeles, California, 1955. Japanese American National Museum Toyo Miyatake/Rafu Shimpo Collection, photograph by Toyo Miyatake Studio, gift of the Alan Miyatake Family. (96.267.316)

Nikkei newspapers like The Rafu Shimpo in Los Angeles and the Nichi Bei up in San Francisco have served important roles since the early Issei immigrants began establishing communities across the United States.

Last spring, our Discover Nikkei team began working on a project to share stories about some of these publications and organize a public program. On April 2, 2011, we presented “From Newsprint to New Media: The Evolving Role of Nikkei Newspaper” in the Tateuchi Democracy Forum in partnership with The Rafu Shimpo, Nichi Bei Foundation/Nichi Bei Weekly, Cultural News, and Nikkei Nation.

The program included a historical overview by Gil Asakawa and presentations by panelists Gwen Muranaka (Rafu Shimpo), Kenji Taguma, (Nichi Bei Foundation/Nichi Bei Weekly), Shigeharu Higashi (Cultural News), and George Johnston (Nikkei Nation). The presentations were followed by a moderated discussion and questions from the audience covering topics such as the coverage of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, as well as local relief efforts; the viability of Nikkei media and the closing of some longtime newspapers in recent years; how can Nikkei media change to be relevant to younger demographics without alienating older generations; and the use and role of social media.

Participants of the "From Newsprint to New Media: The Evolving Role of Nikkei Newspapers" program on April 2, 2011

For those who missed the program, we now have video footage from the program online on Discover Nikkei:
From Newsprint to New Media: The Evolving Role of Nikkei Newspapers, April 2, 2011

View articles about Nikkei community newspapers on Discover Nikkei >>

View photos from Museum’s Toyo Miyatake Studio / Rafu Shimpo Collection >>

Happy Mother’s Day!

Yamashita Twins at Japanese Hospital of Los Angeles, August 1959 (96.267.689)
Yamashita Twins at Japanese Hospital of Los Angeles, California, August 1959, Photograph by Toyo Miyatake Studio, Gift of the Alan Miyatake Family (96.267.689)

 

Happy Mother’s Day!

I came across this photo from our Toyo Miyatake Studio / Rafu Shimpo online collection while searching for images to include with the May Family Programs email update.

Here’s a few stories from our Discover Nikkei site about mothers & grandmothers:

 

Stan Sakai: The Cartoonist

Stan & Sharon Sakai at the 2011 Japanese American National Museum Gala Dinner

We recently honored cartoonist Stan Sakai at our 2011 Gala Dinner where he was awarded the Cultural Ambassador Award.For those of you who are not familiar with his work, he’s best known for his iconic character, Usagi Yojimbo—a samurai rabbit in feudal Japan, which he created in 1984.

His comic books have been translated into a dozen languages and in Empire magazine’s list of greatest comic book characters of all time, Usagi Yojimbo placed 31st, ahead of Green Lantern, Daredevil, and Hellboy!

We’re also working with Stan on a retrospective exhibition of his work that opens on July 9. Our award-winning Watase Media Arts Center staff is working on a short documentary to accompany the exhibition. Last summer they went to the Comicon in San Diego where they interviewed some of his fellow cartoonists who all agreed that he’s one of the nicest guys in the business. After meeting him, we all agree and can’t wait for his exhibition!

Chris Komai, the Public Information Officer at JANM, wrote an article about Stan for the Gala Dinner journal. It’s now online on our Discover Nikkei site:

Stan Sakai: The Cartoonist
by Chris Komai
Read the article >>

For more info about the upcoming exhibition:

Year of the Rabbit: Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo
July 9 through October 30, 2011
Learn more about this exhibition >>

Stan Sakai drawing Usagi Yojimbo on stage at the 2011 Gala Dinner. Photos by Tracy Kumono.