Highlights from the “akaDAN” World Premiere + “Stuntman” Album Release Party

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“As a Japanese American National Museum, why are we hosting a documentary premiere about a Korean American adoptee?” Koji, Manager of Programs at the Museum, asked during his introduction for the screening. “Personally, I identify myself as Asian American first, and Japanese American second.” Having said this, Koji explained that “to understand the Japanese American story you have to understand the Asian American story, and to understand the Asian American story you have to understand the Japanese American story.”

IMG_2259The akaDAN documentary follows Los Angeles-based musician and Korean American adoptee DANakaDAN (Dan Matthews) as he reunites with his biological family in South Korea during the summer of 2013. The documentary is full of interesting twists and turns, including the fact that Dan meets his identical twin brother that he never knew existed. This documentary was not only interesting, but engaging as it had you laughing one second, and tugging at your heart strings in the next.

Two screenings held in the Tateuchi Democracy Forum on the evening of February 1st were packed to maximum capacity. As Dan explained before the screening it was actually a 4-episode feature that was being screened as an 85-minute documentary.

IMG_2258An insightful Q&A session led by Angry Asian Man blogger, Phil Yu, wrapped up each screening. Producers, filmmakers, and the cast answered a variety of questions, ranging from personal questions about Dan’s experience as an adoptee, to technical questions about production.

DSC_2317Following the second screening was an after party in Aratani Central Hall hosted by YouTube celebrities Amy Okuda and Ki Hong Lee. First to open up the after party was Travis Graham with a couple of mellow acoustic numbers. Following Graham was an exciting performance by Paul Dateh, popular for combining hip-hop with his skills on the violin. Closing out the after party was Dan, with words of gratitude, and a powerful line-up of songs from his upcoming album, Stuntman.

The akaDAN documentary was not only entertaining, but by sharing the story of a Korean American adoptee, it gave the audience a sense of how broad the Asian American story is. Being Asian American is a vast quilt-work of stories and experiences, and as Dan explores his story, it encourages viewers to look into their own story, whatever ethnicity they may be, and whatever background they may come from.

Check out these photos from the akaDAN documentary premiere and the Stuntman album release party:

Photo Credits: Richard Murakami, Esther Shin 

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JANM members received a special discount for this event! Sign up to be a JANM member now and support the Museum while receiving many benefits!

To stay updated on all of the Museum’s public programs, please visit JANM’s events page, join our email list, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter!

Highlights from the L.A. Premiere Screening of Mrs. Judo at JANM

Mrs. Judo Screening

On November 16, 2013 the Los Angeles premiere of Mrs. Judo: Be Strong, Be Gentle, Be Beautiful was held at JANM.

Mrs. Judo is a documentary by Yuriko Gamo Romer, that captures the late Keiko Fukuda as she reflects on her life and the choice she made to defy thousands of years of tradition, follow her own path, and ultimately become judo history’s only woman to attain the pinnacle 10th degree.

A live demonstration of “Ju-no-kata”, a signature form of Fukuda-Sensei, precedes the film screening.
A live demonstration of “Ju-no-kata”, a signature form of Fukuda-Sensei, preceded the film screening.

The program opened with a live demonstration of “Ju-no-kata,” Fukuda’s signature form, by Charmaine Galvez & Robin Fernandez of Jundokai Judo and Jujitsu Club of La Mirada. Ju-no-kata is designed to teach the fundamental principles of judo, especially the principle of ju (yielding or gentleness). It consists of three sets of techniques and is performed by a pair of people, one acting as an uke (the person who “receives” an attack) and the other a tori (the executor of a technique).

The panel is made up of Yuriko Gamo Romer, Hal Sharp, Kenji Osugi, and Robin Fernandez.
The panel was made up of Yuriko Gamo Romer, Hal Sharp, Kenji Osugi, and Robin Fernandez.

Following the screening of the film, director Yuriko Gamo Romer, judo demonstrator Robin Fernandez, Hal Sharp of Gardena Judo Club, and Kenji Osugi of Sawtelle Judo Dojo discussed the cultural traditions and relations that continue from Japan to the U.S. through judo.

When it was time for the Q&A session, many audience members expressed positive feedback, and thanked the director for the wonderful documentary.

Check out these photos from the Mrs. Judo Screening!

 

Photo Credits: Russell Kitgawa

Read our interview with director Yuriko Gamo Romer on DiscoverNikkei.org >>

Highlights from the “Unexpected Journeys” Screening at JANM

Life History ProjectOn November 2, 2013, JANM held a premiere film screening for the documentary, Unexpected Journeys: Remarkable Stories of Japanese in America in the Atsuhiko & Ina Goodwin Tateuchi Democracy Forum

Produced by the Museum’s Frank H. Watase Media Arts Center, and sponsored by NITTO TIRES U.S.A Inc.Unexpected Journeys is a 30-minute documentary of selected interviews of individuals whose lives illuminate the astonishing diversity of the Japanese experience in America.

John Esaki, Director of JANM's Frank H. Watase Media Arts Center leads a Q&A with the interviewees and the project's videographers.
John Esaki, Director of JANM’s Frank H. Watase Media Arts Center leads a Q&A with the interviewees and the project’s videographers.

Not only did guests get to watch the premiere public screening of Unexpected Journeys, they also got to enjoy a Q&A session led by director John Esaki with interviewees Sumi Hughes, Jean Schneider, Iris Teragawa, Harry Oda, and Lloyd Inui. The Q&A session continued with videographers Akira Boch and Evan Kodani joining the interviewees on stage.

Guests talk amongst friends and the documentary's interviewees, sponsors, and staff over refreshments.
Guests chat with the documentary’s interviewees, sponsors, and staff over refreshments.

After the public screening and the enlightening Q&A session, guests, interviewees and their families, project participants, staff, sponsors, and other special guests were able to greet each other over light refreshments. Among Saturday’s special guests, was Frank H. Watase, who JANM’s media arts center is named after!

 

Check out these photos from the premiere public screening of Unexpected Journeys!

 

Photo Credits: Richard Murakami and Tsuneo Takasugi

Catch the Los Angeles Premiere of “Mrs. Judo” at JANM on Saturday, November 16th!

fukuda_photoOn Saturday, November 16th at 2pm JANM will be screening a full-length documentary chronicling the life long journey of the late Keiko Fukuda, a renowned pioneer of women’s judo. Yuriko Gamo Romer’s film, Mrs. Judo: Be Strong, Be Gentle, Be Beautiful, documents Keiko Fukuda’s decision to defy thousands of years of tradition, choose her own path, and become judo history’s only woman to attain the pinnacle 10th degree.

 

 

cade-fukuda-1974-liftA live demonstration of “Ju-no-kata”, a signature form of Fukuda-Sensei, will precede the film screening and will be performed by Robin Fernandez and Charmaine Galvez, with narration by Greg Fernandez Jundokai Judo and Jujitsu Club of La Mirada.

A Q&A session will follow screening with filmmaker Yuriko Gamo Romer and panelists who will discuss the legacy of Keiko Fukuda and the Japanese cultural traditions and relations that continue from Japan to the U.S. through judo.

Don’t miss the Los Angeles Premiere of Mrs. Judo: Be Strong, Be Gentle, Be Beautiful, along with a special judo demonstration, and a Q&A session!

Read an interview with director Yuriko Gamo Romer on Discover Nikkei >> 

Photo Credits: mrs.judomovie.com

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For more information on Mrs. Judo: Be Strong, Be Gentle, Be Beautiful, please visit: www.mrsjudomovie.com

This screening is part of the Tateuchi Public Program Series, organized in partnership between the Atsuhiko and Ina Goodwin Tateuchi Foundation and the Japanese American National Museum. Tateuchi Public Programs develop presentations that explore the connections between Japan and the United States in the context of politics, art, music, and culture. The program series is created annually with the objective of enhancing understanding between the two countries. Learn more about Tateuchi Public Programs, at: www.janm.org/events/tateuchi

To stay updated on JANM’s events, please visit our events page: www.janm.org/events

 

FREE screening of “Unexpected Journeys—Remarkable Stories of Japanese in America” on November 2nd

1For the past year and a half, JANM’s Frank H. Watase Media Arts Center has captured more than 25 first-person accounts of individuals whose lives illuminate the astonishing diversity of the Japanese experience in America.

With the support of NITTO TIRES U.S.A. Inc. and its visionary President, Tomo Mizutani, the Watase Media Arts Center staff has been enabled to videotape extensive interviews with Nisei, Japanese-speaking Kibei, Hapa, and post-WWII “Shin Issei.” Their stories have revealed many new historical insights and several previously unexpressed personal perspectives on the World War II era and beyond.

3From the little known early Yamato colony of Japanese in Florida where Sumi (Fukushima) Hughes’ parents settled to the challenges faced by Hamako (Amano) Schneider, one of the first Japanese war brides to be admitted to the U.S. following World War II, the project has uncovered many aspects of history that have remained unfamiliar to the public.

Photographed in Hi-Definition video by the Media Arts Center’s videographers Akira Boch and Evan Kodani, each interview is transcribed, translated when necessary, and digitally archived for eventual use in documentaries, exhibitions, and ongoing JANM educational projects such as the Discover Nikkei website and the Museum’s YouTube channel, janmdotorg. The project also involved follow ups with interviewees and their families to gather, identify, and scan photo albums, documents, and other supplementary resource material.

2After viewing the completed two-to-three hour interviews and assessing the available supplementary photographs and other visuals, the Media Arts staff—with assistance from Japanese staff member Yoko Nishimura of the Discover Nikkei project—edited selected interviews into a 30-minute documentary, Unexpected Journeys, that interweaves short autobiographical profiles with narration, graphics, and music by accomplished composer and musician, Dave Iwataki. To make these stories accessible to as wide an audience as possible the video includes both English and Japanese narration and subtitling to reach both English and Japanese-speaking audiences.

On Saturday, November 2, several of the interviewees and their families will attend a special premiere public screening presented in JANM’s Atsuhiko and Ina Goodwin Tateuchi Democracy Forum and will be able to meet fellow project participants, staff, sponsors, and other special guests. Light refreshments to follow program.

Lloyd Inui

FILM SCREENING
Unexpected Journeys: Remarkable Stories of Japanese in America
Saturday, November 2, 2013 • 2PM
FREE & open to the public!

This program is sponsored by Nitto Tire and produced by the National Museum’s Frank H. Watase Media Arts Center.

 

Check out the updated Watase Media Arts Center pages online: janm.org/mediaarts

Witness: The Legacy of Heart Mountain

Witness: The Legacy of Heart Mountain (Photo from ABC 7; David Ono)
Witness: The Legacy of Heart Mountain (ABC 7; David Ono)

In the eyes of ABC 7 Eyewitness News Anchor David Ono, lessons from the Heart Mountain concentration camps still resonate today. In the four-part special, Witness: The Legacy of Heart Mountain, Ono explores the camp’s history and legacy.

Witness tells the story of the camp through photos from the Hirahara collection. While incarcerated at Heart Mountain, Patti Hirahara’s father and grandfather—both avid photographers—secretly built a darkroom under their barrack. They would go on to shoot and print over 2,000 photos cataloguing life inside the camp. Interspersed are interviews with those connected to the camps, from those incarcerated such as Judge Lance Ito and his mother, to Shirley Higuchi, Chair of the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation Board of Directors.

The Japanese American National Museum plays a role in this documentary as well. Several interviews were filmed in the Museum’s Common Ground: The Heart of Community exhibition, supplemented by archival footage from the Museum’s permanent collection.

David Ono’s Witness is a moving look into the Japanese American experience during some of America’s darkest hours, told by the people who witnessed it firsthand and complemented by striking photos from inside the camps.

Hapa Hoops Coming Up!

NBA veteran and current University of San Francisco coach Rex Walters will discuss his experiences at the screening. (Photo courtesy of the University of San Francisco)

Drop by the Museum this Saturday, June 22nd at 2pm for court-side—or rather, screen-side—seats to Hapa Hoops! We will be showing the documentary Crossover followed by a conversation with hapa NBA veteran Rex Walters. The program is free with admission to the Museum.

Produced originally for the More Than a Game exhibition (2000) by the Museum’s Watase Media Arts Center, and directed by Justin Lin (of the Fast and Furious series), Crossover is a fast-paced look at the history and purpose of Japanese American basketball leagues over the years. First established in the 1930s as an opportunity for Japanese Americans to participate in competitive sports, the leagues have flourished over the years—bringing about questions of how to adapt to an increasingly diverse player base.

Walters got his basketball start playing in one such youth league. Before making his professional debut with the New Jersey Nets, he helped lead the University of Kansas Jayhawks to the Final Four in 1993. He currently works as head basketball coach at the University of San Francisco.

This program is presented in conjunction with our exhibition Visible & Invisible: A Hapa Japanese American History, running through August 25th. Visible & Invisible explores the diverse experiences and history of mixed-roots and mixed-race Japanese Americans through photos, historical artifacts, and interactive elements.

 

Patriots & Peacemakers opens February 16

Patriots & Peacemakers: Arab Americans in Service to Our Country opens at JANM this Saturday on February 16 and will be on view through April 14, 2013. Fittingly, we will also be commemorating our annual Community Day of Remembrance here that day too.

Created by the Arab American National Museum (AANM), the exhibition tells true stories of heroism and self-sacrifice that affirm the important role Arab Americans have played in our country throughout its history.

Patriots & Peacemakers highlights three specific areas of service: the U.S. Armed Forces, diplomatic service and the Peace Corps. Personal narratives highlight Arab American men and women of different national and religious backgrounds. The exhibition also asks visitors to consider how commitment to service impacts them in their daily lives.

In addition to the exhibition from AANM, there are a few extra components. We are screening 9066 to 9/11: America’s Concentration Camps, Then…and Now?, a documentary produced by our Watase Media Arts Center in 2004. The film focuses on the parallels between the post-September 11 treatment of Arab Americans and Muslims in this country with treatment of Japanese Americans after the start of World War II.

AANM also created a special banner dedicating this presentation in Los Angeles to Senator Daniel K. Inouye who passed away at the end of last year “…In sincere appreciation for his contributions to the exhibition’s development, his support for the Arab American National Museum and the Arab American community, and his decades of exemplary service to our country.”

Elizabeth Barrett Sullivan, Curator of Exhibits at AANM, came at the beginning of the month to work with JANM staff to install the exhibition in our upstairs gallery. One of the special perks of being a staff or volunteer at JANM is getting to go on walkthroughs of our new exhibitions with curators and artists.

You can check out photos from the special Patriots & Peacemakers walkthrough with Elizabeth on our Facebook page. Here are a few photos:

Elizabeth Barrett Sullivan, AANM Curator of Exhibits, giving a walkthrough of "Patriots & Peacemakers" for JANM staff & volunteers.
Arab Americans are descendants of people who lived in the Arab World which consists of 22 countries in North Africa and West Asia.
"Patriots & Peacemakers" features personal stories of Arab Americans through history.
Stories are divided into 3 sections: military service, diplomatic service, and Peace Corps service.

 

 

 

 

 

 

View the rest of the Patriots & Peacemakers photos >>

9066 to 911 DVD

9066 to 9/11 — JANM-Produced Film Available on Comcast!

In commemoration of the tenth anniversary of 9/11, the JANM-produced film “FROM 9066 TO 9/11” is available in Comcast’s cable VOD service, Cinema Asian America for the month of September.

About the film:

After the attacks of September 11, there was an instant public backlash against Arab Americans and Muslims.  Anyone who looked like the “enemy” became suspect.  The same thing happened to Japanese Americans after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, and the parallels were obvious.  Unfortunately, the backlash against Japanese Americans during World War II resulted in the mass incarceration of 120,000 innocent people.  It became the mission of many Japanese American individuals and community groups, including the Japanese American National Museum, to use our community’s history in order to protect the rights of our Arab American and Muslim brothers and sisters. As we all know, if we forget our history, we may find ourselves repeating it.

Features interviews with: Yuri Kochiyama, Rev. Art Takemoto, Jerry Kang, Dr. Art Hansen, Linda Sherif, Ban Al-Wardi, Tajuddin Shuaib, and Evelyn Yoshimura.

About the VOD service, Cinema Asian America:

Cinema Asian America is a ground-breaking new video-on-demand offering, which features Asian American films and videos in a monthly, thematically-programmed format.

For the first time, millions of viewers across the nation are able to watch a curated series of Asian American and Asian films, which will collect together award-winning films fresh from the film festival circuit and classics which beg to be revisited.

From September 1, 2011 – September 31, 2011, “FROM 9066 TO 9/11” will be available to all Comcast digital cable subscribers with On-Demand.  It is available for $0.99/view.

9066 to 911 DVD

To watch:

Through your digital cable menu, click on the “On Demand” button, and then look under the “Movies” folder. In this will be a “Movie Collections” folder and inside of this viewers will find “Cinema Asian America” and will be able to access “FROM 9066 to 9/11.”

Thank you, and please help spread the word!

p.s. For those who don’t have Comcast but are interested in watching the film, it’s available on DVD from the Museum Store.

Toyo Miyatake: Infinite Shades of Gray

Toyo Miyatake on Comcast this month

Toyo Miyatake: Infinite Shades of Gray

The Watase Media Arts Center’s award-winning film, Toyo Miyatake: Infinite Shades of Gray is going to be shown on Comcast throughout the month of May!

About the film:

Having smuggled a lens and film holder into one of America’s concentration camps during World War II, Toyo Miyatake was among the first to photograph this national disgrace. Yet it was his little-known artistic pursuits before the war that honed his discerning eye.

Produced by Karen L. Ishizuka and directed by Robert A. Nakamura with music by David Iwataki, the film is a penetrating portrait of the photographer’s quest to capture the beauty and dignity of everyday life.

The many awards that "Toyo Miyatake: Infinite Shades of Gray" has won

The film has won numerous awards, including:

* Official Sundance Film Festival Selection

* Grand Jury Award Best Documentary Short, Florida Film Festival

* CINE Gold Eagle

 

See it on Comcast this month:

Comcast has a video on demand service called “Cinema Asian America” which was launched in December 2010, featuring a monthly-curated series of Asian American and Asian films—award-winning films fresh from the film festival circuit and classics. These films include both short and feature-length works and the genres range from documentary to narrative to experimental.

From May 1–31, 2011, Toyo Miyatake will be available to all Comcast digital cable subscribers with On-Demand. See below for a list of all major Comcast markets in the U.S. The film will cost $0.99/view.

For those who are able to view Comcast programs, through their digital cable menu, viewers should click on the “On Demand” button, and then look under the “Movies” folder. In this will be a “Movie Collections” folder and inside of this viewers will find “Cinema Asian America” and will be able to access the film.

You can also purchase the film on DVD from our Museum Store >>

(The recently released DVD includes Japanese subtitles & includes Moving Memories as a bonus feature. Hosted by George Takei, it features restored and edited home movies from the 1920s and 1930s taken by Japanese American immigrant pioneers as they made America their new home.)

 

Comcast TV Market:

Birmingham, AL • Dothan, AL • Huntsville, AL • Little Rock, AR • Tucson, AZ • Fresno, CA • Sacramento, CA • San Francisco, CA • Santa Barbara, CA • Colorado Springs, CO • Denver, CO • Hartford, CT • Washington DC • Ft. Myers, FL • Jacksonville, FL • Miami, FL • Orlando, FL • Panama City, FL • Pensacola, FL • Tallahassee, FL • Tampa, FL • West Palm Beach, FL • Atlanta, GA • Augusta, GA • Savannah, GA • Peoria, IL • Chicago, IL • Champaign, IL • Rockford, IL • Ft. Wayne, IN • Indianapolis, IN • South Bend, IN  • Charleston, KY • Paducah, KY • Louisville, KY • Monroe, LA • New Orleans, LA • Shreveport, LA • Boston, MA • Springfield, MA • Baltimore, MD • Salisbury, MD • Detroit, MI • Kansas City, MO • Minneapolis, MN • Columbus, MS • Hattiesburg, MS • Jackson, MS • Albuquerque, NM • New York, NY • Youngstown, OH • Portland, OR • Harrisburg, PA • Johnstown, PA • Philadelphia, PA • Pittsburgh, PA • Wilkes-Barre, PA • Charleston, SC • Chattanooga, TN • Knoxville, TN • Memphis, TN •Nashville, TN • Tri-Cities, TN • El Paso, TX • Houston, TX • Salt Lake City, UT • Richmond, VA • Roanoke, VA • Seattle, WA • Spokane, WA • Wheeling, WV