Find Unique Jewelry at Virtual Kokoro2020

Do you like your jewelry fine and delicate, or bold and colorful? Kokoro2020 features many creative artisans who make jewelry from a variety of materials such as mosaics, recycled silver, Japanese fabric, ceramics, and hand-made beads. Links to vendor’s websites and email addresses will be available on November 14.  Get ready to shop! 

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 • Elua Crafters • Fugetsu-Do • Happyshirts • imoriknits • JKiyomi Designs • Joan Flax • Kelley’s Kookies • Kiobi Designs • Kirei Cositas • konodomazo • Lileeku Jams • Madame Sakura Craft • mi so happi • N & M Enterprises • Papermum Press • Parasol Paperworks • Pomegranate • Pontigo • Pulp X Stich • Raffi • sewKimono • Shibori Girl Studios • Simmisu Paper Co • SOLSISS • Some Mo Craft • Stacy Wong • Studio Engravers • Susan Facklam Jewelry • Suzye Ogawa Designs • TABFabric

Virtual Kokoro2020

For more information, email us at kokorocraft@gmail.com or kokoro2020craft@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.

Inside JANM’s Permanent Collection

A Brief History

At the heart of Japanese American National Museum is its permanent collection. With over 100,000 artifacts stored within two-floors totaling 7,200 square feet, JANM houses the largest collection of Japanese American material culture in the world. From renowned artwork and artifacts of some of the most notable Japanese Americans, it also contains seemingly mundane objects of ordinary individuals with extraordinary stories to tell. The collection is full of family treasures that anchor narratives of hardship and success, loss and triumph, as well as challenge and resilience.

Located in Los Angeles’s Little Tokyo neighborhood, the heart of the Japanese American community since the 1880s, JANM’s founders and early supporters wanted to create an institution that would tell a lesser-known chapter of American history to help ensure that the violations of civil liberties that resulted in the incarceration of people of Japanese ancestry during World War II would never happened again.

After incorporating as a private, non-profit institution in 1985, artifacts and archival items began to populate the Museum’s permanent collection. With in-depth documentation from the immigration of the Issei generation to unique crafts made in America’s concentration camps, the burgeoning archive was unlike any other of its time. While JANM quickly became a renowned national museum, it was also a community archive—a repository for numerous families’ treasures. On January 23, 1999, the Japanese American National Museum expanded to its current location on the corner of Central Avenue and First Street, constructing at its center two floors for collections storage, as seen in the video Behind the Scenes of JANM’s Collection (see below).

While the permanent collection is encyclopedic, covering a myriad of topics that reflect the Japanese American experience from early immigration to the United States to the present, the majority of the collection conveys the varying experiences of Japanese Americans during World War II. This encompasses the forced removal and subsequent confinement of 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry—two thirds of whom were US citizens—in temporary detention centers and later in America’s concentration camps as well as the military experiences of men and women who served in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, 100th Infantry Battalion, 522nd Field Artillery Battalion, the Military Intelligence Service, and Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps. Artworks in a variety of mediums, photographs, personal letters, and government documents help to illustrate the experience of the former incarcerees and military personnel.

All of JANM’s collections are significant historical resources for scholars and researchers who study United States history and politics, Japanese American history, trans-Pacific migrations, and other similar topics. Yet, they are also incredibly important to the families that have donated them to the museum. Those who come to research the collections at JANM are not always scholars. Instead, many are descendants of family members who donated historical documents and artifacts to the museum. They visit JANM to learn more about where they come from and the uniqueness of their family history. This is what makes the holdings within the Japanese American National Museum’s permanent collection especially significant and incredibly valuable.

To bring your family’s artifacts into JANM’s permanent collection please email collections@janm.org. Or to help maintain and preserve JANM’s Collection with a donation please click here.

Behind the Scenes

In Behind the Scenes of JANM’s Collection the following artifacts can be seen:

  • Antique Kodak camera owned and used by Frank Kamiyama of Fresno, CA, Gift in Memory of Frank U. Kamiyama, 2000.335.2
  • Shell pins from Topaz concentration camp, Gift of Ryo Maruoka and Aiko Yoshida, 93.122.2
  • Harold Landon’s correspondence with Sohei Hohri, Gift of Harold Landon Family in Memory of Sohei Hohri, 2019.13.9
  • Suitcases taken to Manzanar concentration camp, Gift of Grace Shinoda Nakamura, 2001.61
  • The Heart Mountain mystery stones, Gift of Leslie and Nora Bovee, 94.158.1
  • Suit of Harry Miyagawa, Gift of the Uragami Family, 91.92.3
  • Citizen USA, Gift of Lois Ferguson in Memory of Charles K. Ferguson, 2002.174.2
  • Sculpture: The Portal by Ako Castuera, loan

Photos from JANM’s Collection

JANM’s collection storage, first floor
JANM’s collection storage, second floor
General Collection (3D artifacts), second floor, aisles 97 & 98. Frank Kamiyama’s antique Kodak camera [left], Gift in Memory of Frank U. Kamiyama, 2000.335.2
Archives (original photographs; papers and correspondence; diaries and journals; rare books; and ephemera), first floor, aisles 23 & 24. Norman Y. Mineta Papers (45 linear feet) [left], Gift of Norman Y. Mineta, 96.370
Archives (continued), first floor, aisle 23, shelves B-D. Professor Masakazu Iwata Papers [center], Gift of Masakazu Iwata, 94.58
Fine Arts Collection (paintings, drawings, and prints from Japanese American artists), second floor, painting racks 63-75, includes artwork by Henry Sugimoto [center], Gift of Madeleine Sugimoto and Naomi Tagawa, Japanese American National Museum, 92.97


Video credit: Behind the Scenes of JANM’s Collection by Shawn Iwaoka

Queen of Denson

On May 27, 1943, Kiku Nakamichi was crowned Queen of Denson at a coronation ball, which was part of a weekend carnival at the Jerome concentration camp.

Kiku was presented with a wooden, heart-shaped plaque painted red, green, and gold. It had been crafted by staff at the wood shop where she worked as a secretary. Four months later, when Kiku and her husband departed Jerome, wood shop staff and friends added signatures and farewell messages to the back of the plaque.

Captured in a photograph from the night of the coronation, Kiku is flanked by her two attendants Mary Ikeguchi and Bessie Nakashima, where she is seeing holding the plaque. According to the camp newspaper, Denson Tribune, “William O. Melton, assistant Project director, who crowned the queen had the first dance with Queen Kiku following the coronation.”

Although events throughout all of the camps were common, including coronations and carnivals, each one offered a unique opportunity for incarcerated Japanese Americans to participate in activities seemingly at dramatic odds with their forced surroundings.

The plaque was passed on to Kiku’s daughter, Cindi Ishigaki, who donated it to JANM’s permanent collection this past January.

Recipes From Camp: Homemade Noodles from Topaz

Excerpt from Topaz Saturday Times, Vol. II No. 13, January 16, 1943.

Food Fancies, by Evelyn Kimura, was a column in the Topaz Saturday Times about all things food. In the wake of forced incarceration, Japanese Americans used what little resources they had to make some of their favorite meals. According to Kimura, the key to at-home cooking was simplicity. (And don’t use up all the coal for everyone in the barracks.)

Camp cooking is a legacy that has been passed down to many of us through the generations. Growing up, I knew that shoyu hotdogs and rice meant that Mom was tired. While we spend our current hours social-distancing and rationing food, we can call upon the lessons from those who came before us.

Homemade noodles, courtesy of Mrs. J Yanagizawa of 14-1-A

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups of flour
1 egg
Fresh vegetables of your choice
1 can bouillon or broth

Instructions:

  1. Mix flour and egg (or you can substitute water). Let stand all day until hard.
  2. Roll flat and cut into strips.
  3. Then begin soup mixture by boiling fresh vegetables of your choice.
  4. Add 1 can of bouillon (broth) to vegetables and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Boil soup and noodles for another 15 minutes.
  6. If ready made noodles are being used, boil them before adding to the soup.

We plan to share more camp recipes, so check back for more. We hope you try out this recipe. And please let us know if you do!

Thanks to Emily Anderson who came across this recipe while searching through the World War II camp newspapers on the Densho Digital Repository as part of her research for an upcoming JANM exhibition. The full issue can be found here (Densho, Courtesy of the family of Itaru and Shizuko Ina).

Views from Poston

Larry Ogino, Untitled, ca. 1942. JANM, Gift in Memory of Larry Akira Ogino (2020.20.1)

Every three months, staff at the Japanese American National Museum meet to discuss donation offers of artifacts for the museum’s permanent collection. One collection that arrived at the museum recently was from the family of Larry Akira Ogino.

Kathy Bishop and her siblings recently offered to JANM a collection of watercolor paintings created by their father, Larry Akira Ogino, during his time at the WRA concentration camp at Poston. The five vibrant watercolors accepted into JANM’s permanent collection capture life and scenery at Poston, with some of the works evoking the style of other watercolor artists in Poston and other camps, such as Gene Sogioka.

Larry was born in 1919 in San Francisco, California. During his youth, the family owned and operated a fruit and vegetable farm in the Los Gatos and Campbell neighborhoods adjacent to San Jose. Prior to incarceration, Larry was an art student at San Jose State College. Larry, his mother, and three brothers were sent directly to Poston. Their father joined them after a year at the Santa Fe Department of Justice camp. Larry left camp in June 1943 for employment in Chicago, and later volunteered to join the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. He served as a medic in Europe during his tour of duty.

Once out of the service, Larry was sponsored by a family friend and was able to continue his studies at the Studio School of Art in Chicago. During this time, he painted landscapes in watercolor, but also experimented with oils and acrylics. He was hired as a technical illustrator and worked for several different companies in the Midwest before finally returning to San Jose, where he was employed at FMC Corporation until his retirement. Until his death in 2000, Larry continued to paint—some animals (including cougars, foxes, dogs, cats, and birds), but mostly landscapes.

With over 100,000 artifacts, JANM’s Collections Management and Access staff work to preserve and document the experiences of Japanese Americans like Larry Akira Ogino. If you are interested in donating, making an appointment to view your family’s past donations, or learning more about objects in JANM’s permanent collection, please email  collections@janm.org.

Larry Ogino, Untitled, ca. 1943. JANM, Gift in Memory of Larry Akira Ogino (2020.20.2)
Larry Ogino, Untitled, ca. 1943. JANM, Gift in Memory of Larry Akira Ogino (2020.20.3)
Larry Ogino, Untitled, ca. 1943. JANM, Gift in Memory of Larry Akira Ogino (2020.20.4)
Larry Ogino, Untitled, ca. 1943. JANM, Gift in Memory of Larry Akira Ogino (2020.20.5)