Reading Your Way through the 2018 Oshogatsu Family Festival

Happy New Year! We hope everyone had a fun and relaxing holiday. Here at JANM, we’re excited to kick off 2018 with our annual Oshogatsu Family Festival, one of the biggest and most beloved JANM Free Family Day events. This year’s festival, taking place on Sunday, January 7, features readings, demonstrations, and book signings inspired by no fewer than four wonderful children’s and young adult books—three are hot off the press, and two revolve around dogs, the Asian zodiac animal of 2018. Who says the written word is dead? Read on for details on the featured publications!

At 11:30 a.m., join Santa Fe–based artist Joel Nakamura as he reads from and signs his new children’s book, I Dreamed I Was a Dog. Known for mixing motifs from folk and tribal art to create a uniquely infectious vision, Nakamura has won numerous awards for his commercial illustration work. His new book, inspired by his own dreams, depicts a young boy’s dreams of transforming into a variety of animals and transportation vehicles. Filled with the artist’s signature fantastical, eye-popping imagery, I Dreamed I Was a Dog is sure to delight young eyes. Says Nakamura: “JANM has been a big part of our family, so it is a great honor to participate in an event and share my book. Goes well with the Year of the Dog too.” You can also read an in-depth article about Nakamura and his work on Discover Nikkei.

The next book may very well bring tears to your eyes. At 12:30 p.m., one of our volunteers will read Yoshito Wayne Osaki’s My Dog Teny, an autobiographical tale about the author’s own dog, whom he had to leave behind when he was incarcerated at Tule Lake concentration camp as a child. After the war, Osaki went on to a long career as an architect, helping to rebuild many Japanese American communities, but he never forgot about his beloved dog Teny. Illustrated by Felicia Hoshino, this bittersweet children’s book ends on an affirmative note. Best of all, a portion of the sales proceeds go toward rescuing dogs!

Finally, fans of graphic novel superstar Stan Sakai will rejoice as he presents a drawing demonstration followed by a book signing at 1 p.m. Sakai is best known as the creator of Usagi Yojimbo, a rabbit ronin who roams through a historically accurate feudal Japan, getting into a variety of adventures along the way. It’s hard to believe that the award-winning Usagi Yojimbo comic was first created in 1984; after a whopping 33 years in business, the graphic tales are as fresh and popular as ever. There are several in-depth profiles of Sakai, a longtime friend of the museum, and his creations on Discover Nikkei; the most recent one is by curator and historian Meher McArthur.

Sakai’s two latest publications are Usagi Yojimbo Vol. 31: The Hell Screen and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Usagi Yojimbo. The former is the most recent collection of Usagi Yojimbo stories, featuring a battle with a mythical kappa monster as well as an encounter with a ghastly painting known only as the Hell Screen. The latter is the first TMNT/Usagi crossover comic in 20 years; the handsome hardcover edition includes many extras, including a reprint of the first crossover comic, sketches and notes from the artist, and collaborative cover art with Sergio Aragones, Kevin Eastman, and others. Please note that seating for this event is limited; interested guests must sign up at the information table.

For a complete Oshogatsu schedule, visit janm.org/oshogatsufest2018. All of the above books are available for purchase at the JANM Store and janmstore.com. As always, members receive a 10% discount. Happy reading!

Fundraising Auction of Usagi Yojimbo Artwork

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

Just a heads up about this most worthy cause. The art in this auction is also being published as a book which we will sell in the Museum Store later this year.

Proceeds from the auction and book sales will help to offset the Sakai family’s ongoing medical expenses. There is some GREAT art to be had created by a stellar list of artists. The auction starts on March 6!

Click here for details >>

Stan and Sharon have been wonderful supporters and partners of JANM. We had an exhibition of his work in 2011 (Year of the Rabbit: Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo), he presented a session at our 2013 National Conference in Seattle, and we sell many Usagi Yojimbo products in our Museum Store, including JANM exclusive items.

Here is a photo of Stan and Sharon in 2011 at our Gala Dinner that year—happier times!

 

Comic-Con Mania!

Giant Robot's iPhone 4 and 5 cases! (Photo from: Giant Robot)
Stop by and grab one of these Giant Robot iPhone 4 and 5 cases! (Photo from: Giant Robot)

For all of our fans who headed down to Comic-Con today—once you’ve stopped by Stan Sakai’s booth (#4906) and gotten a sketch, we have a few more recommendations to check out:

Our longtime friends at Giant Robot are selling Tru Protection iPhone 4 and 5 phone cases featuring their robotic mascot! These fun cases are locally made and recyclable—and better yet, a portion of the proceeds are donated to JANM! Stop by booth #1729 and make your phone the envy of them all.

And for the first time ever, Hello Kitty is debuting at Comic-Con! Sanrio will offer a pop-up shop, nail art, and an interactive experience based on Alice in Wonderland, located at Comic-Con’s Interactive Zone.

Speaking of Hello Kitty and comic books, JANM has two upcoming pop culture exhibits that are sure to pique your interest:

Marvels & Monsters: Unmasking Asian Images in U.S. Comics, 1942-1986 officially opens on October 12—but we know you’ll join us for the opening party on Thursday, October 10 too! Marvels & Monsters illustrates how racist comic book archetypes affected the way Americans viewed Asians. For more information, pick up a postcard at Stan’s booth.

Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty will open in October 2014, just in time for her 40th anniversary. As you’ve probably guessed, Hello! will look back on four decades of Hello Kitty’s influence on art and culture. Stay posted for more info!

Stan Sakai at JANM for book signing on October 30!

Stan Sakai will be at the Museum for a book signing on Sunday, October 30 from 12-1:30pm!

Photo by Nobuyuki Okada

Next Sunday will also be your last chance to see the Year of the Rabbit: Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo exhibition before it closes.

Due to time constraints, Stan will only be signing books. Only 3 books per person at a time (depending on how crowded it is, you could get back in line if you have more books you want signed).

Avoid the lines & buy your books from the Museum Store early! Don’t forget, Museum Members get a 10% discount at the Store…and signed books make great gifts!

Year of the Rabbit: Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo
Closes Sunday, October 30, 2011
For more info on the exhibition >>

* * *

Kids! Check out the “Fun Stuff” page on the exhibition site to download a special Usagi Yojimbo coloring sheet. Color it in and bring it to the museum to receive one free Youth admission! Offer expires 10/30/11.

Summer for JANM Volunteers

During the summer when we have fewer school visitors, the Education Unit runs summer sessions for the volunteers. Here are some quick, recent highlights…

7/22/11 (Last Friday) – Clement led a special tour of his artwork featured in ROUND TRIP: Eight East Los Angeles College Alumni Artists at the newly opened Vincent Price Art Museum at East LA College. Standing in front of his low-rider rickshaw with “Yo No Soy Chino” written on it, we thought about Clement’s experiences growing up Japanese American in East LA.

7/29/11 (Today) – Frank Kawana was interviewed by his grandson, Cole, about being a second generation maker of kamaboko. Frank, possibly the only person on the mainland who can do it by hand, showed us HOW TO MAKE KAMABOKO. (Haven’t you always wondered how this is done?) Cole conducted an interview that was absolutely fascinating, even to a vegetarian like me.

It was eaten up so quickly that Clement’s picture of the last slice is the only photographic evidence we have. Those who were lucky enough to taste it said Frank’s fresh kamaboko was even better than what you buy in the store. So when you have Yamasa kamaboko, think of the Kawanas. More info about the interview—as well as tips on how to do an interview of your own—will be available shortly on our Discover Nikkei Web site.

7/29/11 (Today) – While Lynn was leading the volunteers on a tour of JANM’s current exhibition Year of the Rabbit: Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo, Stan Sakai, the artist himself, stopped by. He gave us even more insight into the making of Usagi Yojimbo.

As Richard M. (who gets most of the photo credits on this post) said, “We really hit the jackpot today.”

Ever thought about volunteering for the Museum and joining in on the fun???

Labbit Custom Show UPDATE

Here’s an update on our Year of the Labbit Custom Show opening on Thursday!

Whew, working to open two shows a week apart is insane! It always gets done, often without all the behind-the-scenes drama showing up in the final product (see my last post re: drama.)  However some important items you should know: 1.) the Labbit Show opens at 6:30 PM on Thursday, July 14. We won’t unveil until then. 2.) Admission to the exhibition is FREE that evening. 3.) Some of the Labbits will be auctioned off on eBay through out the run of the show. These include Labbits by Mike Shinoda, Kip Fulbeck, higashi glaser and Stan Sakai. The auctions will be posted on the Year of the Labbit page on our web site. Each auction will last a week so you will have plenty of time to bid.

Online sales for the other pieces will be up (gulp!) hopefully by the opening night. I can’t tell you exactly when, but keep checking our site. We won’t start selling until the show opens however.

Year of the Rabbit: Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo opens July 9th

What a pretty banner!

 

SAVE THE DATE:

On Saturday JULY 9, 2011, Year of the Rabbit: Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo opens to the public.

Admission is also free because July 9th is our Target Free Family Saturday! And for all you Stan Sakai fans–he will be at JANM for a demonstration, talk, and signing of his new book, Usagi Yojimbo Volume 25: Fox Hunt.

For more information about our Target Day, visit: yay, janm events!

Year of the Labbit

Anyone who has ever organized a custom toy show will tell you that when the art starts rolling in, it’s like you are having your own private Christmas. The quality and ingenuity of the work is very high for this show and we are now thinking that some of the pieces may be auctioned off during the run of the exhibition. Details to come!

The task of photographing all these pieces and prepping them for the web store hasn’t gotten started yet, but I wanted to share a few teasers that were created from photos sent to me by the artists.

I’m not sure what order these will come up in, but the artists are Konatsu, Mark Nagata, and Stan Sakai. I’m sure you will be able to figure out who did what!