Stan Sakai, creator of the iconic comic book samurai rabbit Usagi Yojimbo, will highlight the Japanese American National Museum’s Target Free Family Saturday, “Once Upon a Time,” on July 9 with a personal appearance to mark the opening of the museum’s latest exhibition, “Year of the Rabbit: Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo.”
Sakai will speak at 2 p.m. and give a demonstration on how he draws his heroic rabbit. This will coincide with the opening of JANM’s exhibition featuring original art by Sakai, a short documentary on the cartoonist’s activities at last year’s Comic Con, a full-sized cutout that allows visitors to take photos of themselves as Usagi Yojimbo, and a place for visitors to draw their own version of this famous character.
Target Free Family Saturday, which runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., has several hands-on activities for the entire family, including making rabbit ears, a walkthrough of the museum galleries to see how many rabbits are depicted, and Ruthie’s Origami Corner, where participants can learn to fold a samurai helmet in honor of Usagi Yojimbo.
Other activities feature continuous screenings of vintage Japanese anime films from the 1920s and ’30s, considered the Golden Age of such films.
In keeping with the theme, We Tell Stories will perform “Let Them Eat Books” at 1 p.m. It will highlight the works of Lewis Carroll, Mark Twain and Carl Sandburg. For more information, go to www.wetellstories.org.
Kidding Around the Kitchen will show visitors how to make a broccoli carrot slaw fit for a bunny, a prince or princess or just a hungry chef from 1 to 4 p.m. The group brings a “hands on” cooking experience and lesson to the classroom in which the kids actively participate in the preparation of recipes. For more information, go to www.kiddingaroundthekitchen.com.
At 3 p.m., Patricia Bulitt will lead a storytelling tea party that includes tasty treats and audience participation. Bulitt is a dancer/interdisciplinary artist and storyteller from Berkeley.
JANM organizes eight second Saturdays each year, thanks to Target. The museum is located at First and Central streets in Little Tokyo. For information, call (213) 625-0414 or visit www.janm.org.