Catch Nisei Widows Club at East West Players starting on November 7th!


The Japanese American National Museum is pleased to support East West Players as a community partner for The Nisei Widows Club: How Tomi Got her Groove Back.

The third installment of The Nisei Widows Club comic trilogy follows the lives of a group of widowed Nisei (second generation) women who only have each other in the face of loss and the search for love in their golden years. Tomi loses her only son to a heart attack at the early age of 45, and the other widows gather around her during this time of grief. Hilarity ensues when they embark on an unforgettable trip to Hawaii, which unleashes the cougar in all of them at a hula retreat.

“The ‘Nisei Widows Club’ have really struck a humorous chord with the community, even though the story centers around loss,” says Tim Dang, Producing Artistic Director of East West Players. “This newest story will feature even more laughter demonstrating the strength of these senior citizen women in times of adversity.”

The production brings back the original four “Nisei Widows”—Takayo Fischer as Sumi, Emily Kuroda as Hana, June Kyoko Lu as Betty, Jeanne Sakata as Tomi. EWP introduces Tui Asau as the object of their desire—Kimo the hula teacher.

Traci Kato-Kiriyama and Johnny Kwon give powerful performances in the Gallery Performance, Our American Voice
Traci Kato-Kiriyama and Johnny Kwon give powerful performances in “Our American Voice”

JANM has a long history of partnership with East West Players—from hosting play readings presented by EWP, to our current collaboration, Our American Voice, a two-person show exploring six diverse stories of Asian Pacific Americans that is performed inside the exhibition gallery in conjunction with the I Want the Wide American Earth: An Asian Pacific American Story exhibition which was created by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.

This dynamic gallery performance stars Traci Kato-Kiriyama and Johnny Kwon portraying both historic and fictional characters, including Gordon Hirabayashi, Katherine Cheung (the first licensed Asian American female aviator), and poet Carlos Bulosan.

If you haven’t seen it already, you have one last chance to see Our American Voice this Saturday, October 26 at 1PM! Be sure to check out the exhibition, I Want the Wide American Earth, before it closes on Sunday, October 27.


The Nisei Widows Club: How Tomi Got Her Groove Back
By Betty Tokudani
Directed by Amy Hill

November 7 – December 8, 2013

Preview Performances:
Thursday, November 7 – November 9 at 8pm
Sunday, November 10 at 2pm
All preview seats are $21, $16 for students.

Regular Performances:
November 14 – November 29: Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 2pm
November 30 – December 8: Thursdays through Saturdays at 8pm, Saturdays & Sundays at 2pm

David Henry Hwang Theater
at the Union Center of the Arts
120 Judge John Aiso Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012.

For more information please visit

Don’t miss our comics-themed Target Free Family Saturday!

Marvels & Monsters: Unmasking Asian Images in U.S. Comics, 1942-1986

Zap! Pow! Bam! Sounds like our comics-themed Target Free Family Saturday is coming up!

Visit JANM on October 12th from 11AM – 4PM to celebrate the opening of the exhibition, Marvels & Monsters: Unmasking Asian Images in U.S. Comics, 1942-1986, with comics-themed crafts and activities!

Superhero cape & mask making
Make your own superhero cape and mask!


JANM has planned an action packed day!

From assembling your own popcorn snack with Kidding Around the Kitchen, to making your own superhero costume and capturing it in a photo booth, there are activities planned for kids of all ages and interests. You’ll even be able to watch vintage Japanese anime at its earliest roots from the 1920s and 1930s!

Make sure to catch a special Marvels & Monsters Gallery Talk at 11:30am by Jeff Yang, the curator of the exhibition. You won’t want to miss Jeff Yang share special insight into the creation of Marvels & Monsters!


jeff wnyc
Join curator, Jeff Yang, for a special Gallery Talk on the exhibition, Marvels & Monsters!

There will be an interactive activity shortly after the Gallery Talk where you can “Build a Hero” at 12PM, or “Build a Villain” at 2:30PM.

Jeff Yang will lead the audience in collaboratively creating an ORIGINAL comic book super-character who’ll be drawn in real time by comic artists from the Secret Identities and Shattered anthologies! There will also be a book signing after each of these sessions!

Batman Caricature by Cartoon Slinger
Batman Caricature by Cartoon Slinger

Don’t leave the Museum before getting a chance to turn yourself into a comic-book character with a caricature drawn by Cartoon Slinger! (*for children only, line ends at 2:30pm)

Make sure you top off your day by teaming up with your buddies to take down villains in superhero video games brought to you by Game Truck!

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I Want the Wide American Earth – Opening Party Photos

On Friday, September 13, the Japanese American National Museum threw an opening party to welcome our newest exhibition, I Want the Wide American Earth: An Asian Pacific American Story. Created by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, I Want the Wide American Earth explores the rich, and deep-rooted history of Asian Pacific Americans in the United States.

This event was open to the public and attracted hundreds of visitors, including locals, and travelers from different states. Free food from Aloha Cafe and drinks from Ito-en and the Mighty Boba Truck were served throughout the reception, while exciting performances filled the evening.

From previews of Our American Voice in the exhibition gallery presented in partnership with East West Players, to powerful numbers by YouTube stars, DANakaDAN + Crew Love, to the comical performances of The Fung Brothers, it was an evening of enlightenment, reflection, and entertainment.

The evening began by celebrating the opening of an exhibition, but it soon became a night to celebrate the history, accomplishments, and the exciting future of Asian Pacific Americans.

Check out these pictures from the opening party! (Click on the photos to see them larger)

Photos by: Tsuneo Takasugi, Richard Watanabe, and Richard Murakami.

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If you haven’t seen I Want the Wide American Earth yet, stop by the museum to view the exhibition before it closes on October 27th. If you didn’t get a chance to watch Our American Voice, East West Players will be performing every Saturday at 1:00PM throughout the run of the exhibition. For more information on the exhibition:

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marvels-monsters-signature-500pxMarvels & Monsters opening next week!

Don’t miss our next exhibition opening event! Marvels & Monsters: Unmasking Asian Images in U.S. Comics, 1942-1986 will be at JANM from October 12, 2013 – February 9, 2014, but we’ll be celebrating early on Thursday, October 10 from 6PM – 9:30PM. 

Traveling to JANM from the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU, Marvels & Monsters will illustrate how evolving racial and cultural archetypes defined America’s perceptions of Asians through a selection of images from comic books representing four turbulent decades.

This preview reception will be hosted by the JANM Young Professionals Network and is free and open to the public! Get a sneak peek at the exhibition and check out readings of the winning short scenes from the “Marvels & Monsters: Unbound” Showcase!

For more information on the exhibition: