JANM’s Oshogatsu Family Festival to Celebrate Year of the Monkey


Mochitsuki at the 2015 Oshogatsu Festival. (J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo)

Mochitsuki at the 2015 Oshogatsu Festival. (J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo)

The Japanese American National Museum, 100 N. Central Ave. in Little Tokyo, will hold its annual Oshogatsu Family Festival on Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The New Year’s celebration will include free crafts, performances, and cultural activities for people of all ages to help ring in the Year of the Monkey.

Highlights of the day will include demonstrations of the ancient art of candy sculpting, a scavenger hunt, a Curious George-themed bounce house, and a mochitsuki (rice pounding) demonstration.

All-day activities:

•Visitors can make their own monkey puppets and learn to fold an origami monkey.

• Coloring pages will help visitors learn about qualities of people born in the Year of the Monkey as well as the 11 other signs of the Asian zodiac.

• Guests can explore JANM’s current “Giant Robot Biennale 4” exhibition to complete a scavenger hunt and receive a custom JANM x Giant Robot sticker.

• In celebration of “Giant Robot Biennale 4” and its emphasis on drawing, visitors can customize a sketchbook to fill with drawings during the coming year.

• A Nerdbot photo booth with a monkey mascot will provide souvenir photos for guests to take home. Guests can also take their own photos in JANM’s monkey stuffed animal “petting zoo.”

• Toddlers can have fun or relax with an adult who brought them in the JANM toddler room. The film “Monkey Kingdom,” about the monkeys of South Asia, will be screening in the Toddler Room throughout the day.

• Kids can jump into the new year in a Curious George-themed bounce house.

• Fukubukuro (lucky grab bags) will be available for purchase at the JANM Store.

Scheduled activities:

11:30 a.m.: JANM docents will lead a tour suitable for families of the museum’s ongoing exhibition “Common Ground: The Heart of Community.”

12–1 p.m.: JANM members can enjoy osechi, traditional Japanese New Year’s foods.

12–5 p.m.: Shan Ichiyanagi (Shan the Candyman) will demonstrate the ancient, and now rarely practiced, Asian folk art of candy sculpting. Finished pieces, including some shaped liked monkeys, will be raffled off throughout the day.

12:15 p.m.: JANM volunteer Kathryn Madara will read “Monkey King” by Ed Young.

1 p.m.: Kidding Around the Kitchen will serve free bowls of lucky zaru soba (noodles) to bring good health in the new year (while supplies last).

1 and 3:30 p.m.: Coed Choreo, Palos Verdes Peninsula High School’s national championship-winning hip-hop dance team, will perform.

1:30 p.m.: The public can sample traditional Japanese New Year’s foods while supplies last.

1:30–4:30 p.m. Free balloons shaped like monkeys will be given away (limit one per child, while supplies last; line ends at 4 p.m.).

2 and 4 p.m.: Kodama Taiko will present its unique mochitsuki demonstration, which incorporates taiko drumming. Mochi samples will be available while supplies last.

3 p.m.: Kinnara Taiko will present a shishimai, a traditional Japanese lion dance.

In addition to the 12 p.m. osechi tasting, additional special access and benefits for JANM members will be available. These include priority lines at activities and reserved seating at some performances.

Admission to “Common Ground” and “Giant Robot Biennale 4” is free during Oshogatsu. For more information, visit janm.org/oshogatsufest2016 or call (213) 625-0414.



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