Photographer’s Son Featured in “Learning at Lunch”

Frank Sata shows us his own personal favorite photograph by his father, J.T. Sata. Photo by Ben Furuta.
Frank Sata shows us his own personal favorite photograph
by his father, J.T. Sata. Photo by Ben Furuta.


One of my favorite Members Only events here at JANM is the collections-based series, Learning at Lunch. Members can bring a brown bag lunch and sit back as our knowledgeable Collections Manager, Maggie Wetherbee, showcases unique and often unseen artifacts from JANM’s collections. One past session explored JANM’s intricate and beautiful bird pin collection, while another looked at paper artifacts—such as letters, photographs, and menus—that revealed how Thanksgiving was celebrated in the camps and by members of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

Is it a plant? Is it a bug? Frank Sata says it reminds him of Star Wars. Photograph by J.T. Sata. Japanese American National Museum. Partial and promised gift of Frank and Marian Sata and Family.
Is it a plant? Is it a bug? Frank Sata says it reminds him of Star Wars. Photograph by J.T. Sata. Japanese American National Museum. Partial and promised gift of Frank and Marian Sata and Family.

The most recent edition of Learning at Lunch took place last Friday. It was extra special, as we were joined by Frank Sata, son of photographer J.T. Sata, who is a featured artist in our current exhibition, Making Waves: Japanese American Photography, 1920–1940. Frank, a well-known architect, also has a unique connection to JANM: he was an instrumental part of the architectural team that renovated the museum’s Historic Building.

Frank began his presentation by sharing family photographs and personal stories about his family’s history and journey. He then shared some of his father’s photographs that are in JANM’s collection but not on view in the exhibition.

During this portion, classical music played in the background as a tribute to his father, who loved classical music; Frank also felt that the lyrical images deserved lyrical accompaniment. These photographs were not only breathtaking but also showcased J.T. Sata’s immense skill and artistic sensibility. Some of my favorites are featured here.

I see feathers here. Photograph by J.T. Sata. Japanese American National Museum. Partial and promised gift of Frank and Marian Sata and Family.
I see feathers here. Photograph by J.T. Sata. Japanese American National Museum. Partial and promised gift of Frank and Marian Sata and Family.


We were also treated to slides of J.T. Sata’s other works, including charcoal drawings of the Santa Anita Assembly Center and vibrant paintings from the family’s time at the Jerome concentration camp in Arkansas. Overall, the presentation was truly moving and such a unique opportunity to hear Frank share his personal insights about his father and his father’s work.

This was J.T. Sata's favorite photograph. Photograph by J.T. Sata. Japanese American National Museum. Partial and promised gift of Frank and Marian Sata and Family.
This was J.T. Sata’s favorite photograph. Photograph by J.T. Sata.
Japanese American National Museum. Partial and promised gift of Frank and Marian Sata and Family.


Making Waves will be on view through June 26. You can watch a short film about J.T. Sata made by JANM’s Frank H. Watase Media Arts Center here.

Alison Wong is JANM’s Membership Coordinator.

Members Get Perks at Oshogatsu Family Festival


It’s almost time for the Oshogatsu Family Festival, one of JANM’s biggest and most anticipated events of the year! On Sunday, January 4, the museum will be alive with festive arts and crafts, food, cultural activities, and performances. The programs last all day, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and are free to all visitors. (Note: admission to Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty, a specially ticketed exhibition, is not included.)

JANM members enjoy special perks at events like these. If you are a member, be sure to check in at the front desk and get your member sticker so you don’t miss out on the following:

12–2 p.m.: MEMBERS ONLY Osechi-Ryori Tasting
At this exclusive opportunity for JANM members, taste a selection of traditional Japanese new year foods—including various sweets and vegetables—and learn about the symbolism of each dish. Get in line early because the tasting will only last as long as supplies last!

12–5 p.m.: Double Raffle Tickets for Sheep Candy Sculptures
Shan Ichiyanagi will demonstrate the ancient, and now rarely practiced, Asian folk art of candy sculpting, as he makes candy in the shape of sheep. The finished pieces will be raffled off throughout the day. Members get double raffle tickets!

1–1:30 p.m.: Reserved Seating for Taikoza Performance
Taikoza, a group that uses traditional Japanese instruments to create an exciting contemporary sound, will present short performances on koto (zither) and shakuhachi (flute). Get to the Tateuchi Democracy Forum early to take advantage of specially reserved seats for members!

1–4 p.m.: Petting Zoo Members’ Express Line
Meet real live sheep and their goat friends at our Oshogatsu petting zoo, brought to you by Jessie’s Party Animals. Speed your kids through to the zoo by using the Members’ Express Line! (For children only. Line ends at 3:30 p.m.)

1–5 p.m.: Hello Kitty Members’ Express Line
Say “Hello!” and share a hug with Hello Kitty, the star of JANM’s exhibition Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty. Put smiles on your kids’ faces—our Members’ Express Line will get them to Hello Kitty faster!

3 p.m.: Reserved Seating for UniverSoul Hip Hop Performance
Watch an energetic performance from UniverSoul Hip Hop, a community-based group dedicated to educating and enriching youth by bringing hip hop dance and culture to K–12 classrooms. Members enjoy reserved seating in the Tateuchi Democracy Forum!

These are just some highlights of what to expect at the 2015 Oshogatsu Family Festival. A complete schedule is available at To become a member or renew your membership, visit our membership page. See you in the new year!

JANM Members: Win a chance to participate in a Tea Ceremony!

tea ceremony2

Here’s another great perk for being a Museum member:

Be one of the first five Museum members to email us and win the opportunity to participate in our upcoming program, Japanese Tea Ceremony: Sado on Saturday, February 22, 2014!

Winners will be part of the tea ceremony demonstration in front of an audience and will be served tea and snacks by the ceremony officiators.

To enter, send an email to with the subject: “Tea Ceremony” and include your name and membership number. Winners will receive a confirmation from the Museum, along with instructions for the day.

One entry per membership #. Must be a current member to participate.

Good luck!


Click here for the program listing: website.

The tea ceremony will take place at 2pm in the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy (glass building across the courtyard from the main building). Please arrive early for good seating.

Please call the Museum at 213.625.0414 to RSVP. The program is free with Museum admission (free for Museum members!).  Make sure to get your admission sticker at the Museum front desk before arriving at the program site.

Save the Date: Go for Broke!

Young Nisei soldier who entered the Army before the war and his mother pose in their strawberry field in Northern California shortly before incarceration.
Image credit: National Archives

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.

When Go for Broke: Japanese American Soldiers Fighting on Two Fronts opens on November 12, 2014, look deeper into the lives of these Nisei who gave their 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 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.

Calling all JANM Member kids!

Natsumatsuri Family Festival - FREE ALL DAY! Saturday, August 10, 2013, 11am-5pmThe very fun Natsumatsuri Family Festival is right around the corner—Saturday, August 10, 11 am – 5 pm. The National Museum welcomes ALL children to participate in free crafts and cultural activities—but there’s a special call out to Members!

To reward our members for supporting the National Museum, we will have “Member fast pass” lines for such popular activities as yukata dress-up, tote bag screen printing, and airbrush kid tattoos, not to mention a limited number of reserved-seating for the Japanese Mariachi and LA Matsuri Taiko performances.

The Japanese American National Museum is a community-based, cultural institution open for ALL people to learn about the stories of Japanese America. At JANM, we realize that our members and donors make an investment for EVERYONE and when we can, we give back a little extra to those supporters who help realize our mission and programs.  Thank you for your continued support and we’ll see you at Natsumatsuri!

Natsumatsuri = Summer FUN

For full Natsumatsuri Family Festival schedule >>

Join/renew as a Member >>

Drawing the Line opening tonight!

The opening celebration for Drawing the Line: Japanese American Art, Design & Activism in Post-War Los Angeles is just a couple of hours away!

Join us tonight from 5:30 to 8pm to celebrate the opening members, many of the artists and their families & friends, and special guests. There’ll be a special performance by Nobuko Miyamoto with Benny Yee & Atomic Nancy!

Our staff & volunteers have been working hard to get the show ready to open. Along with the artwork & artifacts, our Watase Media Arts Center has developed new video segments about each of the featured artists. You’ll be able to view them in the exhibition, but will also be available for sale on a DVD through the Museum Store. There’s also a Guide by Cell audio guide with audio clips from the interview.

Check out the updated exhibition site for more info on the Guide by Cell, to see the bios for the featured artists, plus links to full scans from 4 issues of Gidra magazine on Discover Nikkei! There’s also more exhibition-related public programs added (more to come!).

Member Appreciation Days!

Member Appreciation Days is this Friday, May 20th through Sunday, May 22nd. We’ll be giving 20% off store purchases to our museum members and to the members of the following cultural institutions. So sign up for a JANM membership and start your museum shopping spree on the cheap!

Not in the L.A. area? We’re honoring the 20% discount at our Museum Store Online too!

Check for full details >>

  • Autry National Center • 323.677.2000
  • Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels • 213.680.5277
  • Chinese American Museum • 213.485.8567
  • Craft and Folk Art Museum (Saturday & Sunday only) • 323.937.4230 x22
  • FIDM Museum & Galleries (Friday & Saturday only) • 213.623.5821
  • Fowler Museum at UCLA • 310.206.7004
  • Heritage Square Museum • 323.225.2700
  • J. Paul Getty Museum (both locations) • 310.440.7300
  • LA Phil Store at Walt Disney Concert Hall • 213.972.3440
  • The Library Store at Central Library (Friday & Saturday only) • 213.228.7550
  • The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)
    (Grand Ave. location only)

    MOCA Grand Avenue • 213.621.1710
  • Museum of Latin American Art • 562.216.4102
  • Orange County Museum of Art • 949.759.1122
  • Pacific Asia Museum • 626.449.2742 x20
  • Pasadena Museum of California Art • 626.568.3665
  • Pasadena Museum of History • 626.577.1660
  • San Diego Museum of Art • 619.696.1971
  • Santa Monica Museum of Art (Friday & Saturday only) • 310.586.6488
  • Skirball Cultural Center • 310.440.4505