Kokoro2020: More Holiday Gift Ideas!

Just a few days left to shop Kokoro2020! Take care of your holiday gift list which at the same time will support JANM’s educational programs! 

For this sweet time of year, satisfy your cravings at Kelley’s Kookies, Lileeku Jams, and Fugetsu-Do

Face masks make a great stocking stuffer from vendors such as 6 Degrees of Hapa, Art Mina, Color Conscious, Creative Handcrafted Gifts, Da Tojos, Ecommshipments, Elua Crafters, Kiobi Designs, Pontigo, sewKimono, and TABfabrics

Flip through the Vendor Catalog for more great gift ideas. You an also watch the Virtual Kokoro2020 video to see some of the vendors talking about their products (find links to all of the vendor’s websites/contacts below the video).

Make sure to write “Kokoro2020” on your orders this month so that your purchases will benefit JANM’s educational programs!

Thank you for your support of Kokoro2020 and JANM. The Kokoro Committee wishes your holidays are safe and most joyous.

Kokoro2020: Gift Ideas for the Home!

Just in time for the holidays, Virtual Kokoro2020 offers a variety of gifts for the home. Holiday ornaments for your tree (Alyson Iwamoto Ceramics and Kirei Cositas), guava jam (Lileeku Jam), crocheted animals (Some Mo Crafts), decorative birdhouse (Simmisu), wall planters (Stacy Wong), artwork for your walls (Pomegranate Designs), tea towels for your kitchen (DaTojos), and coasters for your coffee table (Color Conscious)! Visit Virtual Kokoro2020 for gifts that bring warmth and joy to your home.

Watch the Virtual Kokoro2020 video program (find links to all of the vendor’s websites/contacts below the video) and check out the vendor catalog. Some of the vendors mentioned above talk about their products in the video! Make sure to write “Kokoro2020” on your orders this month so that your purchases will benefit JANM’s educational programs!

For any questions, email us at kokorocraft@gmail.com.

Ethnic Effects: Revealing the Impact of Immigrant Groups in Shaping the American Experience through Museum Objects

My name is Jose Quirarte and this summer I have had the opportunity to work at the Japanese American National Museum as the Getty Marrow Collections and Curatorial Intern. I recently graduated from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona with a bachelor’s degree in history. Throughout my undergraduate work I studied the 20th century ethnic American experience, focusing a majority of my research on the unjust incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. As a result, I wanted to create a capstone project during my internship at JANM that reflected my research interests in the Japanese American experience as well as those of other ethnic communities by exploring the complexity of American identity.

In order to fulfill this capstone project, I invited Getty Marrow Undergraduate Interns from JANM, La Plaza de Cultura y Artes, the Chinese American Museum, and the Italian American Museum of Los Angeles to collaborate and create a collections-based project that focused on the ethnic American experience. Specifically, the project invited each intern to highlight items in their museum’s respective collection that reveal lesser known stories and demonstrate how the American experience has been shaped and defined by its rich ethnic history.

Interns selected an artifact or artwork that related to the broad project question: 

How have immigrants and subsequent generations shaped what it means to be American?

Participants were encouraged to view and interpret this question from different perspectives and were provided a variety of sub-questions to further delve into different facets of the American experience. The initial goal of the project was to highlight the agency of immigrants in shaping American identity. However, the interns’ submissions made it clear that the answer to this specific question would not fully encompass the American experience of immigrants and their descendents. The interns, through the objects that they selected and wrote about, demonstrated the complexity of the immigrant experience in the United States. They underscored obstacles and triumphs, the ingenuity of immigrants, the unique cultural identity that formed, and the notion that “being American” has not historically conformed to one singular definition.

The following Getty Marrow Undergraduate Interns participated by shaping their own interpretations of the project question:

Japanese American National Museum: Jose Quirarte, Shelby Ottengheime, and Rino Kodama

Italian American Museum of Los Angeles: Mercedes Solaberrieta

La Plaza de Cultura y Artes: Araceli Ramos

The resulting capstone project has been crafted into a blog series titled Ethnic Effects. I have synthesized and framed the submissions into a series of posts that reveal a different facet of the American experience through an analysis of collection items.

I answered the broad project question, by selecting a drawing from JANM’s Miné Okubo Collection (2007.62). I argue that it reveals the complexity of “American identity” and the ways in which it is shaped by the cultural traditions and experiences of immigrants and their children.

Jose Quirarte, Japanese American National Museum

Miné Okubo, untitled, 1942-1945, Miné Okubo collection. 2007.62.156, Japanese American National Museum. Los Angeles, CA.

In this untitled work, artist Miné Okubo depicts herself seated at a mess hall table while she observes several individuals in the process of pounding mochi at the Topaz concentration camp in Utah during World War II. Miné Okubo was just one of the 120,000 Japanese Americans who were imprisoned in America’s concentration camps without due process because of racism and war hysteria. Executive Order 9066 laid the foundation for exclusion of Japanese Americans on the West Coast and their subsequent forced removal. Miné Okubo’s drawings depict the World War II incarceration experience— from removal on the West Coast to daily life at Topaz.

This particular drawing depicts a scene of mochitsuki, a Japanese New Year’s tradition of pounding sweet rice into mochi (rice cakes). Mochi is an important ingredient in a New Year’s soup called ozoni, which is supposed to bring luck. The three men in the background take turns pounding the sweet rice with large wooden mallets while the man kneeling in front turns the mochi and moistens it with water. To the left of Okubo, there are several mochi cakes resting on the counter.

On the surface, this drawing seems to only speak about the mochi-making process in the Topaz concentration camp. However, the drawing, in conjunction with Okubo’s other drawings, helps to reveal the dynamic nature of “American identity” by depicting Japanese Americans actively participating in Japanese traditions. From behind barbed wire fences, Japanese Americans demonstrated that American identity was not homogenous; rather, American identity had always been inherently diverse and multifaceted due to the integration of a variety of immigrant groups and their respective traditions and values. Okubo’s drawing of mochi-making signified the reality that many Japanese Americans held on to traditional Japanese institutions and values. Furthermore, her drawings indicate that Japanese Americans placed an importance on maintaining Japanese traditions, despite attempts by the War Relocation Authority to “Americanize” and “assimilate” them. From within the confines of America’s concentration camps, Japanese traditions and cultures thrived and persisted among the Japanese American community. 

If the meaning of what it means to be an “American” is confined to the restrictive ideas of the “melting pot” and a European American standard, then it would allow no room for the preservation of outside cultures and traditions. Yet, Okubo and many other Japanese individuals, within the confines of concentration camps, maintained their cultural traditions and redefined the contemporary definition of American identity. Okubo’s drawings counter the restrictive narrative of the “melting pot” and highlight that Japanese immigrants and their children valued Japanese culture and were intent on keeping their traditions alive. More importantly, Okubo’s drawings reveal a bigger picture: “American identity” is inherently complex and diverse and it is shaped by the values and experiences of immigrant populations and their children.


This series, entitled: “Ethnic Effects,” will reveal commonalities and shared experiences in the American experience through material culture artifacts from JANM, La Plaza de Cultura y Artes, and the Italian American Museum of Los Angeles. The title of this series underscores the overall goal of the project: to highlight personal effects residing at cultural and ethnic museums, and use their historical significance to demonstrate the effect immigrant populations have had on shaping the American experience. Each of the posts in this series analyzes the complexity of “American identity” and demonstrates that the American experience is multifaceted. Through the Getty interns’ analysis of their respective museum items, several throughlines are apparent within the American immigrant experience. In coming to America, immigrant groups and their children have often had to adapt and reinvent themselves, face immense systemic oppression based on racial prejudice, and persevere in any way they can in order to survive. Each of the following posts reveals stories of American immigrants that exemplify the notion that the immigrant experience is not just a minor chapter in America’s history, but is instead an integral part in understanding the complex story of the American experience:

Ingenuity – Araceli Ramos & Rino Kodama

Vulnerability & Discrimination – Mercedes Solaberrieta & Jose Quirarte

Perseverance & Resilience – Shelby Ottengheime & Jose Quirarte

Acknowledgements

This project has been a wonderful opportunity for several of us Getty MUI interns to meet and collaborate on a project outside of our immediate internships. With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing museum personnel to work from home, a majority of the interns have only had a digital experience working with their institution. Regardless of the unfavorable transition, our supervisors have adapted and have provided the Getty interns with a valuable experience working in the museum field. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the supervisors for their support of this project and their ingenuity in adapting their Getty programs to accommodate work from home. 

Thank you to Kristen Hayashi, Clement Hanami, and Akira Boch of JANM; Marianna Gatto of the Italian American Museum of Los Angeles; Gina Alicia Lopez Ramos, Erika Garcia, and Liz Gama of La Plaza de Cultura y Artes; Rachelle Shumard and Ashley Lee of the Chinese American Museum.

Without your support, this project would have not been possible.

Virtual Kokoro2020 is Open! Watch the video program and shop!

It’s finally here! Watch the 40-minute video program below and then use this flipping book catalog to view the vendor’s products at your leisure and to point and click to quickly access your favorite vendor’s website or email address.   

Virtual Kokoro2020 runs from November 14 to 30. Make sure to write “Kokoro2020” on your orders this month so that your purchases will benefit JANM’s educational programs!

The Kokoro program schedule with video time stamps and links to their websites/email addresses are below. No sign-in or registration is required.

KOKORO VIDEO PROGRAM: 
 0:00 – 12 Years of Kokoro
 3:25 – Greeting from Janet Maloney, Cochair
 4:30 – Greeting from Ann Burroughs, JANM President & CEO
 6:53 – 6 Degrees of Hapa
 7:37 – Acorn Works
 8:56 – Alyson Iwamoto Ceramics
10:34 – BGK Gems
12:44 – Charming Little Lotus
14:40 – Color Conscious
16:02 – Ecommshipments
17:58 – Happyshirts
18:48 – JKiyomi Designs
19:58 – Joan Flax
20:50 – Kiobi Designs
21:50 – Madame Sakura Crafts
23:08 – Papermum Press
25:05 – Pomegranate Designs
26:20 – sewKimono
27:46 – Shibori Girl Studios
29:52 – SOLSISS
31:58 – Stacy Wong
33:21 – Suzye Ogawa Designs
33:55 – Vendor Slides

38:15 – Thank you from Irene Nakagawa, Cochair
39:51 – Goodbye and Credits
40:54 – Catalogue

For more information, please refer to the Customer FAQ below  or email us at kokorocraft@gmail.com.

Enjoy the video program! Have fun shopping for holiday gifts and for yourself! 

KOKORO 2020 CUSTOMER FAQ

How do I let a vendor know this is a “Kokoro2020” purchase?  

Vendors have a variety of methods for accepting sales. The vendors with websites sometimes have a spot where you can add a comment. This is where you can indicate the sale is due to the Kokoro2020 event. If the vendor has a shopping cart with no spot to add a comment, then please email the vendor to let them know you want your purchase tagged as a “Kokoro2020” sale. 

If there is a problem with my order, can I contact Kokoro2020 or JANM?

You will contact the vendor directly to make your purchase and to resolve any problems. Please do not contact Kokoro2020 or JANM.

Is there a place to view all the vendors that were in the video?

A flipping book catalog of all the vendors, their products, and their website or email address is available to view and download here. Once the catalog opens, click anywhere on the page and you will be taken to the flipping book site.  

How will my purchase help JANM? 

Vendors will donate 10% of Kokoro2020-identified sales to JANM, which will benefit JANM’s education programs. While the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has temporarily halted in-person programs for school groups, education programs have gone on-line and virtual visits are now available to virtual classrooms across the country. Visit janm.org/groupvisits to learn more!  

Check Out Face Masks, T-shirts, and more at Virtual Kokoro2020

Tired of the same face mask? Find a variety of new masks and other unique apparel at Virtual Kokoro2020, beginning November 14.

The online video program includes product photos and short videos provided by participating vendors that showcase their work and illuminate their creative processes.

At the end of the video program, check out the flip-page catalog featuring all 42 vendors. To view your favorite items, just point & click on the vendor website to shop or call/email your favorite vendors for assistance.

Watch and shop starting November 14!

Virtual Kokoro2020

For more information, email us at kokorocraft@gmail.com.

Shop Virtual Kokoro2020 Starting November 14

Check out our updated vendor list!

The 12th Annual Kokoro Craft Boutique is going virtual this year! From November 14–30, shoppers can shop online or by phone with many familiar artisans and crafters, plus some new ones. Starting on Saturday, November 14, watch the video program that will be posted on YouTube.com/janmdotorg. It will feature interviews and videos from many of our talented vendors. The video program will display beautiful, hand-crafted products from all our participating vendors. 

Shoppers’ purchases from November 14–30 will support JANM’s education programs. Buy products from vendors directly and write “Kokoro2020” on all of your orders. JANM will receive a portion from each purchase! 

Participating Vendors
6 Degrees of Hapa • Acorn Works • Alyson Iwamoto Ceramics • Art Mina • BGK Gems • Bizu • Boy Cherie Jewelry • Charming Little Lotus • Color Conscious • Creative Handcrafted Gifts • DaTojos • Ecommshipments • Fugetsu-Do • Happyshirts • imoriknits • JKiyomi • Joan Flax • Kelley’s Kookies • Kiobi Designs • Kirei Cositas • Komodomazo • Lileeku • Madame Sakura Craft • Mi So Happi • N & M Enterprises • Papermum Press • Parasol Paperworks • Pomegranate • Pontigo • Pulp X Stitch • sewKimono • Shibori Girl Studios • Simmisu Paper Co • Solsiss • Some Mo Craft • Stacy Wong • Studio Engravers • Susan Facklam Jewelry • Suzye Ogawa Designs • TABFabric

Please keep checking back on the JANM blog for new photos each week.
Go to janm.org/kokoro, or email us at kokorocraft@gmail.com  or  kokoro2020june@gmail.com for more information.

Virtual Kokoro2020
Kokoro Craft Boutique

Shop Virtual Kokoro2020

The 12th Annual Kokoro Craft Boutique is going virtual this year! From November 14–30, shoppers can shop online or by phone with many familiar crafters, plus some new ones.  Starting on Saturday, November 14, watch the video program that will be posted on YouTube.com/janmdotorg. It will feature interviews and videos from many of our talented crafters. The video program will display beautiful, hand-crafted products from all our participating crafter/vendors. 

Virtual Kokoro2020

Shoppers’ purchases from November 14–30 will support JANM’s education programs. Buy products from vendors directly and write “Kokoro2020” on all of your orders. JANM will receive a portion from each purchase! 

See a list of participating vendors and sample photos below. Keep checking back on the JANM blog for new photos each week. Go to janm.org/kokoro, or email us at kokorocraft@gmail.com or kokoro2020june@gmail.com for more information.

Participating Vendors
6 Degrees of Hapa • Acorn Works • Alyson Iwamoto Ceramics • Art Mina • BGK Gems • Bizu • Boy • Cherie Jewelry • Charming Little Lotus • Color Conscious • Creative Handcrafted Gifts • Ecommshipments • JapaneseYa • JKiyomi • Joan Flax • Kelley’s Kookies • Kiobi Designs • Kirei Cositas • Madame Sakura Craft • Mi So Happi • N & M Enterprises • Papermum Press • Parasol Paperworks • Pomegranate • Pulp X Stitch • sewKimono • Shibori Girl Studios • Simmisu Paper Co • Solsiss • Some Mo Craft • Studio Engravers • Suzye Ogawa Designs • TABFabric

Announcing the launch of Virtual Visits to JANM!

February 2020—120 4th grade students in closely packed groups swarm into JANM’s Common Ground exhibition, shaking hands with JANM volunteers, and sharing pencils for origami and drumsticks for taiko. The field trip ends and the group grabs their bundle of backpacks and heads out into the cool spring air to enjoy a communal lunch on JANM’s plaza, and the Education staff heads into the back offices, another successful field trip. 

Little did the seasoned museum educators know that in a matter of days the school visits program would come to a complete halt. Swiftly, sending regretful emails postponing, and later canceling, over 100 reserved Spring semester visits. Teachers sent back kind replies, understanding the predicament as they themselves adjusted to unprecedented distance learning circumstances. 

Fast forward to six months later—after hours of strategizing, experimenting, adapting (and pivoting!), the JANM Education Unit is thrilled to announce our new virtual visits program. In the spirit of the beloved on-site school visits program, the new tour types reflect informal and object-based learning which animates the museum’s mission—promoting understanding and appreciation of America’s ethnic and cultural diversity by sharing the Japanese American experience. 

Virtual visits use video conferencing technology to engage visitors and students in conversation and discussion surrounding JANM’s collection. Built on the understanding that it is important to learn outside of a formal classroom setting, virtual visits enhance distance learning curriculum with innovative and interactive design. These new tour types offer a great escape for a distance learning classroom, and a way to make sure that the important lessons of history are not forgotten. 

Lynn Yamasaki introduces students to Kaeru!

1st–12th grade students will enjoy “tours” full of fun, engaging, and artistic activities that broaden their understanding of culture. College, adult, and senior groups will have the opportunity to go on a virtual tour of the highlights of JANM’s on-going exhibition, Common Ground: The Heart of Community, led by JANM’s incredible cohort of volunteer docents and facilitators. Groups of all ages can select to accompany a visit with a first-person live testimonial and Q&A with a JANM volunteer who has first-person experience of America’s concentration camps. These precious stories are vital to bringing the curriculum alive for your students.

It’s important to continue telling stories about the Japanese American experience now more than ever. Teachers tell us the reasons why they bring JANM’s curriculum to their students include: bringing mindfulness to their virtual classrooms, learning to respect other cultures, gaining connection making skills, combating anti-Asian racism and hate that is prevalent in today’s media, and helping students take pride in their own culture by learning and appreciating another. As one teacher reported, “My students were engaged and quite interested in the presentation. They really enjoyed it and learned a lot.” 

With a virtual platform crafted to reach students, and engage sensory perception, critical thinking skills, and importantly make human connections in an era of social distancing, students experience a memorable and lasting museum “visit.” 

The JANM Education Unit offers school or group virtual visits Monday–Friday, running 45–65 minutes. Fees are waived for Title I schools thanks to generous support by Bid for Education donors. To learn more or make a reservation go to janm.org/groupvisits or email groupvisits@janm.org

Programs like these are made possible by the generous support of JANM’s members and donors. Become a member (janm.org/membership) or consider making a tax-deductible gift so that we can continue to develop more educational resources: janm.org/donatenow. Your support makes a difference. Thank you! 

Congratulations to Eisner Award Winners!

Congratulations to George Takei, Stan Sakai, and Mariko Tamaki on their 2020 Eisner Awards wins! The 32nd Annual Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards were presented at a ceremony on July 24, as part of the San Diego Comic-Con International that is being presented virtually this year. 

JANM Trustee, actor, and activist George Takei’s graphic memoir, They Called Us Enemy, won the award for Best Reality-Based Work. Our Education unit developed a teacher’s guide to accompany the memoir for IDW Publishing. 

Stan Sakai was elected into the Hall of Fame and also won for Best Lettering (Usagi Yojimbo, published by IDW) and Best Archival Collection/Project (Usagi Yojimbo: The Complete Grasscutter). Sakai was honored at JANM’s 2011 Gala Dinner with the Cultural Ambassador Award, the same year that we presented an exhibition about his work, Year of the Rabbit: Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo. You can also watch clips from an interview with him on Discover Nikkei.

Sakai has had an ongoing relationship with JANM, especially with our JANM Store. In addition to selling his books and comics, he has graciously allowed our Store to produce exclusive merchandise. Look out for more collaborations in the future!

Finally, Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O’Connell’s graphic novel Laura Dean Is Breaking Up with Me won awards for Best Publication for Teens, Best Writer, and Best Penciller/Inker. Skim, one of the Japanese Canadian writer’s earlier books, was previously sold at the JANM Store.

 

See the entire list of 2020 Eisner Award winners.

A Legacy of Reaching Out for Justice

“Congressman Lewis has been clear and consistent in his message of justice from the 1960s until today. It isn’t every day that you get to meet a true humanitarian hero—we will never forget that day. He’ll continue to be an inspiration to me and our family. Rest in Peace Congressman John Lewis.”

Jeff Koji Maloney, Mayor, Alhambra CA
Congressman John Lewis from the 5th District of Georgia reaching out to Koji Maloney in the rotunda of the US Capitol Building.

On January 24, 2019, my husband Mike Maloney and I accompanied our son, Jeff Maloney, who as the Mayor of Alhambra, CA., was attending the Conference of Mayors in Washington DC. While touring the Capitol, I was assigned the task of keeping track of our grandson Koji, a very small but active 4-year-old. As we toured the spacious Rotunda, a group of very important looking people had just left a meeting and were walking through this grand room.

One gentleman quietly broke away from this group of dignitaries and began to approach Koji who had somehow wandered away from my watchful eye. I didn’t recognize this gentleman immediately but he slowly bent over and spoke very softly asking Koji his name. He then shook my grandson’s hand and as Jeff approached to introduce himself, the kind man bent down and lifted Koji up into his arms. It reminded me of something a kind and loving grandfather would do.

This gentle giant was Congressman John Lewis. He was a genuinely nice man and this incredibly sweet gesture was definitely the highlight of our trip! Congressman John Lewis will be greatly missed for his care and compassion for our country!

This story is from Janet Maloney of the Volunteer Leadership Council as told to Clement Hanami, JANM’s VP of Exhibitions and Art Director.

Pictured from left to right: Jeffrey Koji Maloney then-Mayor and current Councilmember from Alhambra CA, Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester from the at-large District of Delaware, Congresswoman Barbara Lee from the 13th District of California, Congressman John Lewis from the 5th District of Georgia and in his arms, my grandson Koji Maloney.