Museum’s Summer Festival to Feature Tea Tastings, Concert, Family Activities


Singer Yoko Fujimoto and composer Derek Nakamoto will present "Ayagoromo."

The Japanese American National Museum celebrates its 13th annual Summer Festival on the Courtyard with the Los Angeles Tea Festival by Chado Tea Room, free hands-on arts and crafts activities for families, a ticketed concert featuring traditional Japanese folk songs, and fun features related to its latest exhibition, “Year of the Rabbit: Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo,” on Saturday, Aug. 13, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Traditionally, JANM holds its annual event at the beginning of the Nisei Week Japanese Festival, which is being organized for the 71st time from Aug. 13 to 21 this year. Part of the third annual Los Angeles Tanabata Festival will take place within the museum’s plaza on Aug. 12 to 15 as well. For more information, go to the Los Angeles Tanabata Festival page on Facebook.

The Los Angeles Tea Festival by Chado Tea Room will be held on Aug. 13 and 14 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day within JANM’s Pavilion. Chado Tea Room, which makes over 300 different types of tea available through its retail outlets, including at the museum, has organized this ticketed event by bringing together different exhibitors and tea lovers.

For $15 per person ($10 for JANM members), participants will access different teas through the exhibitors and take part in workshops with tea experts, including author/storyteller/historian James Norwood Pratt (“James Norwood Pratt’s Tea Dictionary”). Tickets can be purchased at any Chado Tea Room or online at

Summer Festival activities include Ruthie’s Origami Corner, where visitors will learn how to make a rabbit by folding paper; a special Usagi Yojimbo cutout display so anyone can take a photo with the iconic rabbit samurai; picture frame decorating; hat-making out of paper; and a toddler room.

Another ticketed event will be the “Ayagoromo — Mindful Transitions” concert featuring Japanese singer Yoko Fujimoto (Kodo) and composer Derek Nakamoto. They will perform traditional Japanese folk songs blended with modern world music sensibilities in JANM’s Tateuchi Democracy Forum beginning at 2 p.m. on Aug. 13. Guest artists include Kaoru Watanabe on Japanese woodwinds and percussion, Abe Lagrimas Jr. on ukelele, vibes and percussion and Cameron Stone on cello.

Tickets are $10 for JANM members and $15 for non-members. Tickets can be purchased at This concert was made possible in part by Kodo Arts Sphere America (KASA).

Besides “Year of the Rabbit,” the museum has several different displays, including: the “Year of the Labbit Custom Show” (through Sept. 11), featuring “Labbit” toys that have been customized by artists, including Stan Sakai, Mike Shinoda and Kip Fulbeck; and “The California Hotel: Hawaii’s Home Away from Home” (through Aug. 28), which tells the story of the relationship between a Las Vegas casino and patrons from Hawaii, especially Japanese Americans. In support of this show, co-authors John Blink and Dennis Ogawa will appear on Aug. 14, at 1 p.m. to discuss their book, “California Hotel and Casino,” upon which the exhibit is based. The book is available through the Museum Store.

The museum is located at First and Central in Little Tokyo. For more information, call (213) 625-0414 or visit


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