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JANM’S 2019 Natsumatsuri Family Festival Offers Free Fun for Everyone

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At last year’s Natsumatsuri, audience members tried their hand at taiko after watching a performance. (J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo)

The Japanese American National Museum (JANM) will present its annual Natsumatsuri Family Festival on Saturday, Aug. 10, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Admission to the summer celebration featuring Japanese and Japanese American performances, crafts, and activities is free.

Craft activities will include origami, shave ice suncatchers, and JANM’s ever-popular paper hat making. Visitors will also be able to sample saataa andaagii (deep-fried Okinawan pastries), participate in a Bon Odori community dance, and enjoy two book readings. Kishin Daiko will perform, as will gayageum player Joyce Kwon.

Exhibitions on view for Natsumatsuri include “At First Light: The Dawning of Asian Pacific America,” on view through Oct. 20, and JANM’s ongoing core exhibition, “Common Ground: The Heart of Community.”

Activities for kids at Natsumatsuri include face-painting. (MARIO G. REYES/Rafu Shimpo)

Following is the complete schedule for the Natsumatsuri Family Festival.

All-Day Activities

Summer Photo Booth: Grab some fun props from Nerdbot and take a souvenir photo with friends and family.

Ruthie’s Origami Corner: Learn to fold a yukata (summer kimono), popular attire during Japanese summer festivals.

Summertime Suncatchers: Create a decorative shave ice suncatcher to hang in your window.

Paper Hats: A JANM summer tradition. Design your own unique paper hat to keep you cool while you have fun in the sun.

Okinawan Treats: Sample fresh saataa andaagii. One per person, while supplies last. Express lane for members.

Scavenger Hunt: Explore JANM’s current exhibitions, find all the items on the scavenger hunt list, and win a prize. One per participant, while supplies last.

Toddler Room: Check out this cheerful place for parents and toddlers to relax and play. Note: All children must be supervised by an accompanying adult at all times.

Scheduled Activities

11:30 a.m.–12 p.m.: Taiko Demonstration

Learn taiko drumming from JANM volunteer Hal Keimi. Taiko is a traditional form of Japanese percussion using a variety of drums, some very large. Taiko playing is loud, hard, and fast, and involves choreographed movements that mirrors Japanese martial arts. Reserved seating for members.

12–1 p.m.: Obon Lecture and Community Dance

Learn about Japan’s Obon festivals, which honor and celebrate the spirits of ancestors, with Rimban William Briones of Los Angeles Hompa Hongwanji Buddhist Temple. A group Bon Odori (traditional dance) will then be led by Elaine Fukumoto.

1–1:45 p.m.: “The Little Kokeshi Doll from Fukushima” Book Reading

Join author/illustrator Sunny Seki as he reads from his book and discusses the evolution of kokeshi dolls. He will demonstrate his lathe, and conclude with a presentation of his life-sized dolls in an interactive kokeshi fashion show.

1-4 p.m.: Face Painting

Put on your best summer festival face with Party Face Magic. For children only. Express lane for members.

1:45–2:15 p.m.: Performance by Joyce Kwon

Joyce Kwon is a singer-songwriter and gayageum player hailing from Los Angeles. She studied jazz voice in New York City as well as traditional Korean music in Seoul, and now makes folk music influenced by the diaspora. Reserved seating for members.

2–2:30 p.m., 3:30–4 p.m.: Performances by Voices Carry

Voices Carry will present “With Memories on Their Backs,” a dance theater performance honoring the plight of refugees. The audience will follow the dancers throughout the museum, experiencing the emotions of a refugee’s journey.

2:15–3 p.m.: “Ninja Mom and the Tengonis in the Tiki” Book Reading

Join author Ren Hanami and illustrator Don Schmidt for a reading of their book in which a group of monsters is accidentally unleashed on the first day of young Kimi’s ninja training. Kimi will need help from her ninja mom, inventor dad, and grandmother warrior bachan to get through her first ninja lesson. Hanami and Schmidt will also sign copies of the book purchased from the JANM Store.

4–4:40 p.m.: Illusions by Allen

Check out Allen Roy Oshiro’s exciting magic act, which includes a live rabbit and doves. Oshiro has been performing magic since the age of 5, has been featured on television, and won first-place in the Magic Corner Battle of the Magicians. Reserved seating for members.

4:40–5 p.m.: Kishin Daiko Performance

Finish up the fun-filled day with a performance by Kishin Daiko, a multi-ethnic, multi-generational taiko group founded at the East San Gabriel Valley Japanese Community Center in 1981. Reserved seating for members.

Sponsors of JANM’s Natsumatsuri Family Festival include the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, The Nissan Foundation, and the Department of Cultural Affairs, Los Angeles.

For more information and to RSVP, visit janm.org/natsumatsuri2019. Attendees who RSVP in advance and show their tickets at the JANM membership table during Natsumatsuri will be entered in a drawing to win a one-year Family/Dual Level membership.

JANM is located at 100 N. Central Ave. at First Street in Little Tokyo. Museum hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursday from 12 to 8 p.m. General admission is $12 adults, $6 students and seniors, free for members and children under age 5. Effective Aug. 16, admission will be $16 for adults, and $7 for students and seniors.

In addition to Natsumatsuri, admission is free to everyone on Thursdays from 5 to 8 p.m. and every third Thursday of the month from 12 to 8 p.m. General admission prices and free admission times may not apply to specially ticketed exhibitions. Closed Mondays, 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. For more information, visit www.janm.org or call (213) 625-0414.

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