The Japanese American National Museum, in collaboration with the USC Hapa Japan Database Project, will present its next exhibition, “Visible & Invisible: A Hapa Japanese American History,” from Sunday, April 7, through Sunday, Aug. 25.
Through photos, historical artifacts, multimedia images, and interactive components, “Visible & Invisible” explores the diverse and complex history of the mixed-roots and mixed-race Japanese American experience.
At a free opening night party planned for Saturday, April 6, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., visitors can preview this unique perspective on mixed race within the Japanese American community.
“Visible & Invisible” is preceded by the five-day Hapa Japan Festival, a free event featuring Hapa musicians and artists, a comedy night, readings by award-winning authors, film screenings of leading documentaries, and a two-day academic conference at USC. The festival runs from April 2 to 6. For more information on the schedule and featured programs, visit www.hapajapan.com.
The 2010 U.S. Census revealed that a growing number of individuals identified themselves as “multiracial,” and it is anticipated that by the next census count, a majority of Japanese Americans will be multiracial. “Visible & Invisible” examines the Japanese American community’s long “mixed” history, including racial segregation and anti-miscegenation laws that prohibited and even criminalized marriages between white and non-white individuals.
Today, the community continues to explore questions of belonging and identity as Hapa Japanese Americans expand notions of family and community. “Visible & Invisible” addresses these important questions and challenges the community to consider the possibilities for future generations.
The exhibition’s co-curators are:
Cindy Nakashima, author of “The Sum of Our Parts: Mixed-Heritage Asian Americans”;
Lily Anne Yumi Welty, UCLA Institute of American Cultures, postdoctoral fellow, UCLA Asian American Studies Center, and Ph.D., UC Santa Barbara;
Duncan Williams, USC professor and director of the USC Center for Japanese Religions and Culture, founder, Hapa Japan Database Project, former director, UC Berkeley Center for Japanese Studies, and Ph.D., Harvard University.
In conjunction with the exhibition, JANM will present two public programs relating to the Hapa experience. On Friday, April 5, at 7:30 p.m., a film screening of “Hafu: The Mixed Race Experience of Japan” will feature the experience of five “hafu” individuals in modern-day Japan.
The second program, “Hapa Hoops: Japanese American Basketball and Community,” on Saturday, June 22, at 2 p.m., will explore the experiences of Hapa in the Japanese American basketball leagues. A screening of “Crossover,” a basketball documentary produced by JANM’s Frank H. Watase Media Arts Center, will be followed by a conversation with Rex Walters, a veteran player of the Japanese American leagues and the NBA.
Visit www.janm.org/events or call (213) 625-0414 for more information.
The USC Hapa Japan Database Project is a forum for connecting mixed-race and mixed-roots Japanese people. It sponsors a website with social networking, genealogical, and educational features and also hosts a festival every other year that celebrates this community. Hapa Japan I took place in April 2011 in the San Francisco Bay Area. For information, contact Duncan Williams at [email protected]
JANM is located at 100 N. Central Ave. in Little Tokyo. Museum hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursday from noon to 8 p.m. Admission is $9 for adults; $5 for seniors, students and children; free for museum members and children under age six. Admission is free to everyone on Thursdays from 5 to 8 p.m. and every third Thursday of the month from noon to 8 p.m. Closed Mondays, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.