JANM staff members have been working overtime to put together Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty. The 40th-anniversary exhibition will be the biggest U.S. showcase for the popular cute icon to date, with 40 works of contemporary art and over 500 Hello Kitty artifacts.
Many details of the show are top secret until the grand public unveiling on October 11, but with Sanrio’s permission, we are sharing these exclusive sneak peek photos with our loyal readers.
Archivist Lauren Zuchowski measures the first-ever Hello Kitty phone, made in 1976. An object’s dimensions and condition have to be noted for the museum’s records before it goes on display.
Collections Manager Maggie Wetherbee holds up a vintage Hello Kitty calculator, also from 1976. It still works!
Sanrio has produced many Hello Kitty kitchen appliances over the years, often sized for younger cooks and diners. This Hello Kitty waffle iron makes kid-size Hello Kitty waffles in four friendly shapes.
A Hello Kitty blueberry soda is a perfect fit for this Hello Kitty mini-fridge from 2007. Both products were made and sold in Japan.
Here’s the first Hello Kitty artwork to be installed! Artist Nicole Maloney looks on and offers direction as a team of handlers assemble her sculptural installation, Hello Kitty All Stacked Up!, in the Weingart Foyer.
You can see these pieces and much more in person when Hello! opens on October 11. Remember, Hello! is a specially ticketed exhibition and we strongly recommend that you buy/reserve your tickets in advance by clicking here. JANM members get in FREE!
Stay tuned to our blog for more Hello Kitty news and tidbits over the next few weeks!
JANM’s highly anticipated exhibition, Perseverance: Japanese Tattoo Tradition in a Modern World will be opening to the public this Saturday, March 8th!
Perseverance is a groundbreaking exhibition and the first of its kind, as it will explore Japanese tattooing as an art form by acknowledging its roots in ukiyo-e (woodblock) prints. This exhibition will also examine current practices and offshoots of Japanese tattooing in the U.S. and Japan.
Perseverance features the work of seven internationally acclaimed tattoo artists, Horitaka, Horitomo, Chris Horishiki Brand, Miyazo, Shige, Junii, and Yokohama Horiken, along with tattoo works by selected others. Through the display of a variety of photographs, including life-sized pictures of full body tattoos, these artists will cover a broad spectrum of the current world of Japanese tattooing.
Many exciting things are planned for the public opening of Perseverance! Join us from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. for an event that will feature Live Tattoo Demonstrations by Horitomo, Miyazo, Shige, and Yokohama Horiken including tattooing by both machine and tebori—traditional Japanese tattooing by hand.
Saturday’s public opening will also pack in the afternoon with lectures given by curator Horitaka (Takahiro Kitamura), exhibition designer and photographer Kip Fulbeck, and a number of the artists featured in the exhibition—Junko Junii Shimada, Chris Horishiki Brand, Jill Horiyuki Halpin, and Chaz Bojorquez. The program will also include a live tattoo model unveiling.
These back-to-back lectures will begin at 1 p.m., and the last lecture will be given at 4:30 p.m.Don’t miss this opportunity to listen to artists and contributors talk about their work in the exhibition and the importance of the art of tattoo in their life!
Saturday’s opening will conclude with a signing of the exhibition catalogue with all of the attending artists. The catalogue, along with a variety of custom merchandise produced for the exhibition, will be available for sale at the Museum Store. Get your copy of the exhibition catalogue signed by these amazing artists!
The programs are free with museum admission. Purchase admission at the front desk of the Museum on event day. No pre-payment accepted. Last entrance to the National Museum will be at 5 p.m.
Lectures will take place in the Tateuchi Democracy Forum in the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy (glass building across the Courtyard from main building). Admission required for entry. Seating will be on a first come, first served basis, until maximum capacity is reached. Seating is limited so please arrive early!
The night began with a Members Gallery Talk that took place half an hour before the exhibition’s Preview Reception. The Members Gallery Talk allowed JANM members to take an exciting and intimate gallery tour with curator Jeff Yang.
The Preview Reception was free and open to the public with delicious food from Esaan Thai and free drinks throughout the night.
The evening continued with welcoming and opening remarks from the President & CEO of JANM, Dr. Greg Kimura; Chair of the JANM Board of Trustees, Mr. Gordon Yamate; YPN President, Kira Teshima; Office & Gallery Manager from NYU’sAsian Pacific American Institute, Ruby Gomez; and Marvels & Monsters curator, Jeff Yang.
The highlight of the night was Marvels & Monsters: Unbound—a showcase of short performances inspired by the new exhibition. The showcase commemorated the National Museum’s West Coast premiere of Marvels & Monsters by rethinking, subverting, deconstructing, or satirizing the eight Asian pop culture archetypes depicted in this exhibition.
Marvels & Monsters: Unmasking Asian Images in U.S. Comics, 1942-1986 is on display at JANM through February 9, 2014. For more information about the exhibition, visit janm.org/marvels-monsters.
Check out these photos from the Marvels & Monsters Preview Reception!
Photo credits: Tsuneo Takasugi
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Our next exhibition opens next week. Go For Broke: Japanese American Soldiers Fighting on Two Fronts chronicles the history of Japanese American Nisei soldiers from the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and Military Intelligence Service who served during World War II to prove their loyalty to the nation that had disowned them.
The exhibition opens next Tuesday, November 12, but if you’re a current JANM member, join us for a special Member Preview this Sunday, November 10, 2PM – 4PM. See the exhibition before it opens to the public and hear remarks by Eric Saul, Director, Japanese American Wartime History Project. To RSVP, contact email@example.com or 213.625.0414 x2222.
What happens when a Museum changes exhibitions? Why is the area cordoned off so we can’t see what is going on inside? Common questions posed by National Museum visitors when they meet the Collections Management team and realize we are part of the select group that is behind the blacked out door during exhibition changes.
Here are a few images to help you glimpse behind the door!
(click to see the full images)
Marvels & Monsters: Unmasking Asian Images in U.S. Comics, 1942-1986
October 12, 2013 – February 9, 2014
Through a selection of images from comic books representing four turbulent decades, Marvels & Monsters illustrates how evolving racial and cultural archetypes defined America’s perceptions of Asians. For more information >>
In preparation for the opening of Marvels & Monsters: Unmasking Asian Images in U.S. Comics, 1942-1986, Collections staff received 38 special collections comic books from the Fales Library at NYU. The comics have arrived!
Comics featured include a Green Hornet from 1944, Yellow Claw from 1956, Wonder Woman from 1956, Justice League of America from 1967, Iron Man from 1969, Captain America from 1970, Batman from 1972, and many, many more!
Don’t miss out on the exhibition opening on Thursday, October 10th at 6 p.m. or the FREE fun-filled Target FREE Family Saturdays event on Saturday, October 12th from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
The Nisei soldiers who fought in World War II embodied a particular set of values, passed down from generation to generation. Giri—sense of duty. Gambare—perseverance. And of course, go for broke—give it your all.
Go For Broke chronicles the resilience and bravery of these young men both on and off the battlefield. Japanese American soldiers fought in eight brutal campaigns across Europe, receiving thousands of medals for heroism even while suffering an astronomical casualty rate. Thousands more joined the Military Intelligence Service and operated throughout the Pacific Theater as language and intelligence specialists. Yet their battles were not finished when the war ended. The Nisei veterans returned to fight pervasive racism back home—and proved just as successful in this arena. With their help, hundreds of anti-Asian laws were struck down.
First displayed at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum in New York, Go For Broke shows how instrumental these soldiers were in the Japanese American fight for justice both overseas and at home. The photographs in this exhibition are supplemented by a special Guide by Cell audio tour, with narration by curator Eric Saul and Nisei veterans.
To celebrate the opening of this exhibition, we invite all JANM Members for a special preview of the exhibition before it opens to the public.
Member Preview Sunday, November 10th • 2-4PM
Members are invited to join us for an exclusive preview of Go For Broke with curator Eric Saul. To RSVP, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 213.625-0414 ext. 2222 by Wednesday, November 6.
Join us also for this special public program on December 7th presented in partnership with the Go For Broke National Educational Center:
The Military Intelligence Service (M.I.S.) in Occupied Japan Saturday, December 7th • 2PM
M.I.S. veterans, Edwin Nakasone, Bruce Kaji, and Hitoshi Sameshima, will discuss their roles in the rebuilding of Japan after the end of World War II. The MIS was a US military unit mostly comprised of Japanese American Nisei who provided translation, interpretation, and interrogation services during World War II. Presented as part of the Tateuchi Public Program Series.
As the incoming Collections Manager at the Japanese American National Museum, I am amazed by the sheer depth of artifacts and artworks that comprise the Japanese American experience. Having admired the institution’s mission and values from an outside perspective, I am happy to become part of the thriving community that is “behind the house” in the collections at JANM.
It is the goal of the Collections Management and Access Unit (CMA) to preserve the collections for future generations and to utilize them to their fullest potential as ambassadors and storytellers for the Museum—for the collections are the cornerstone of the Museum. One wonderful way to achieve this potential is to use our temporary exhibitions as an entryway into exploring our own collections.
We are excited to have the opportunity to share some of JANM’s collection alongside the traveling exhibition, Marvels & Monsters: Unmasking Asian Images in U.S. Comics, 1942-1986, which comes to us from the NYU Fales Library & Special Collections. CMA and Education Staff realized the potential of pairing our collection of historical artifacts to enhance the exhibition in an unexpected way.
It is interesting to contemplate the idea that artist Chris Ishii never imagined Li’l Neebo sharing gallery space with Wonder Woman! A Miss Breed letter and Mine Okubo drawing in conversation with each other about the shared theme of comic books… who would’ve guessed?
Marvels & Monsters illustrates Asians and Asian Americans through racial and cultural archetypes and when paired with first person Japanese American narratives of concentration camp life told through comics, a differing perspective is shared. Through the cartoons of artist Chris Ishii’s Li’l Neebo and George Akimoto’s Lil Dan’l, artwork by Mine Okubo, and letters from young inmates to librarian Clara Breed, Museum visitors will glimpse how comics were used to express emotion and to retain a sense of normalcy in a less than ideal situation. These images, juxtaposed with the stereotypical Asian themes in U.S. comics, provide a place for reflection on the impact and power of storytelling through comics and the way in which this popular medium has shaped perceptions of history.
It is through collaborations such as these that the importance of the collections at JANM, through the stories and first person experiences of the Issei and Nisei generation, are linked to contemporary society.
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Marvels & Monsters: Unmasking Asian Images in U.S. Comics, 1942-1986 will be on display at the Japanese American National Museum from October 12, 2013 – February 9, 2014. For more information about the exhibition and related public programs, visit: janm.org/marvels-monsters
Margaret Zachow Wetherbee is the new Collections Manager at the Japanese American National Museum.
On Friday, September 13, the Japanese American National Museum threw an opening party to welcome our newest exhibition, I Want the Wide American Earth: An Asian Pacific American Story. Created by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, I Want the Wide American Earth explores the rich, and deep-rooted history of Asian Pacific Americans in the United States.
This event was open to the public and attracted hundreds of visitors, including locals, and travelers from different states. Free food from Aloha Cafe and drinks from Ito-en and the Mighty Boba Truck were served throughout the reception, while exciting performances filled the evening.
From previews of Our American Voice in the exhibition gallery presented in partnership with East West Players, to powerful numbers by YouTube stars, DANakaDAN + Crew Love, to the comical performances of The Fung Brothers, it was an evening of enlightenment, reflection, and entertainment.
The evening began by celebrating the opening of an exhibition, but it soon became a night to celebrate the history, accomplishments, and the exciting future of Asian Pacific Americans.
Check out these pictures from the opening party! (Click on the photos to see them larger)
Photos by: Tsuneo Takasugi, Richard Watanabe, and Richard Murakami.
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If you haven’t seen I Want the Wide American Earth yet, stop by the museum to view the exhibition before it closes on October 27th. If you didn’t get a chance to watch Our American Voice, East West Players will be performing every Saturday at 1:00PM throughout the run of the exhibition. For more information on the exhibition: janm.org/wide-american-earth
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Marvels & Monsters opening next week!
Don’t miss our next exhibition opening event! Marvels & Monsters: Unmasking Asian Images in U.S. Comics, 1942-1986 will be at JANM from October 12, 2013 – February 9, 2014, but we’ll be celebrating early on Thursday, October 10 from 6PM – 9:30PM.
Traveling to JANM from the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU, Marvels & Monsters will illustrate how evolving racial and cultural archetypes defined America’s perceptions of Asians through a selection of images from comic books representing four turbulent decades.
This preview reception will be hosted by the JANM Young Professionals Network and is free and open to the public! Get a sneak peek at the exhibition and check out readings of the winning short scenes from the “Marvels & Monsters: Unbound” Showcase!
Jeff Yang, well known for his “Tao Jones” column in the Wall Street Journal, is the former “Asian Pop” columnist at the San Francisco Chronicle and publisher of A. Magazine. He began reading and collecting comics at the age of eight, and hasn’t allowed distractions like adulthood, marriage, and fatherhood to deter him since. He’s even made comics a part of his professional life with the seminal graphic novel collection Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology and its follow-up Secret Identities: Volume 2 Shattered.
Join us for this unforgettable Members Gallery Talk.
Members Gallery Talk
Thursday, October 10th • 5:30 PM JANM Members Only
Intimate gallery tour with curator Jeff Yang.
Thursday, October 10th • 6PM – 9:30PM FREE & open to the public!
Join us for a special preview of Marvels & Monsters: Unmasking Asian Images in U.S. Comics, 1942 – 1986. Hosted by the JANM Young Professionals Network.
If you’re not a current JANM member, join/renew now! In addition to special opportunities like this, members also receive free admission and discounts at our award-winning Museum Store and on workshops and tours. Your support enables us to continue to present exhibitions, public programs, educational workshops and tours, and much more!