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!

Stan Sakai Sketches at Comic Con

Stan_Sakai,_2006
Stan Sakai at Comic Con, 2006.
(Photo: Pinguino)

If you were lucky enough to score San Diego Comic-Con tickets this year, make sure to visit Stan Sakai’s table (#4906 in the Exhibitions Hall). This year, Sakai will be sketching for JANM at his booth!

Sakai is the Eisner Award-winning creator of several popular comic book series, including the long-running Usagi Yojimbo and his latest, 47 Ronin. He has a long history with the Museum, including a 2011 exhibition of his work in Year of the Rabbit: Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo and a recent panel session/signing at this year’s National Conference in Seattle.

Stop by, make a donation, and get a fantastic piece of art for a good cause!

 

P.S. Check out our selection of Stan Sakai items at the Museum Store, including a special Usagi Yojimbo Tea Cup and t-shirts produced by JANM!

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 >>

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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.

The Last Labbit Auction!


And it starts in just a few minutes. I have to stay online long enough to have it go live so I can post the links. Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo Labbit made an appearance on the back cover of Stan’s 199th comic book issue, so I imagine the bidding will be fierce for this piece. The Year of the Labbit show is over but Stan’s Labbit is still on view in the Museum Store.

There are still some fine Labbits available on janmstore.com, but they are going fast. We sold 6 more after the show was over!

Oh and Save the Date: Stan Sakai will be at the Museum for a booksigning on October 30. Check our web site for details: janm.org

Here you go! >>

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???

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!

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.