Origami, Poetry, Lecture at JAMsj

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SAN JOSE — The Japanese American Museum of San Jose, 535 N. 5th St. (near Jackson) in Japantown, will present the following events in the next two weeks.

Linda Mihara

• “Fashionable Folds with Linda Mihara.” On Saturday, June 1, take a look inside the world of an acclaimed origami artist as she presents some of her new projects. This event has two parts, a presentation in the morning (10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.) and a hands-on workshop in the afternoon (1 to 3 p.m.).

Although best known for her three-dimensional roko-an sculptures (multiple cranes folded from a single sheet of paper), her latest passion is exploring the art of wearable origami fashion. Mihara has worked on several wearable creations, including her “Star Tesselated Dress and Shoes,” part of last year’s “popular Folding Paper: The Infinite Possibilities of Origami” exhibition at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. This exhibit opens in June at the Crocker Museum in Sacramento.

Mihara will be bringing several of her art pieces to show at this event, including both award-winning works and newer pieces that have never been shown in public before.

Open to all ages. Audience members who choose not to participate in the afternoon workshop are welcome to stay and observe (space permitting).

Cost: Free with admission to the museum (non-members, $5; students and seniors over age 65, $3; JAMsj members and children under 12, free).

During the hands-on workshop, Mihara will demonstrate a wet-fold technique that can be used to give paper a beautiful texture suitable for fashion. Participants will create a swatch that can either be made into a scarf or transformed into a more elaborate wearable creation.

Must be 17 or older. Workshop is limited to a maximum of 30 participants. It is recommended that workshop participants also attend the morning presentation. Participants are welcome to bring their own lunch and chat with Mihara during the break between the morning and afternoon programs.

Cost for workshop is an additional $15. A small materials fee may also apply.

For more information, email [email protected] or call (408) 294-3138.

Mihara has been a guest origami lecturer and teacher at many events, but this is her first time speaking about origami fashion. Her works are part of several museum collections, including the Mingei International Museum in San Diego and Hangar7 in Salzburg, Austria. A professional origami artist and designer, she specializes in origami for TV commercials and international events. Her clients include Mitsubishi Motors, Chanel, Hermes, Visa, The Washington Post, Pixar, and Disney. She has just completed origami work for a McDonald’s commercial scheduled to air soon. More information on her work can be found on her website, www.origamihara.com.

Mitsuye Yamada, Roger Abe, Stefanie Kaku, Ann Muto

• “Honoring Ourselves Through Our Writing” on Saturday, June 8, at 1 p.m. Ever wonder what your grandparents, parents or siblings thought or felt during the internment and its aftermath? Poetry gives voice to what cannot be spoken, distills experiences and exposes the universality of intimate moments.

Issei voices (read by Chris Essert) from “Poets Behind Barbed Wire”: Keiho Soga, Taisanboku Mori, SojinTakei, Muin Ozaki, Kenichi Takemoto

Nisei voices: Mitsuye Yamada, author “Camp Notes and Other Writings”

Sansei voices: Roger Abe, Stefanie Kaku, Ann Muto, author “Open Passage”

Audience open mic closes program.

Free with museum admission.

Masao Suzuki

• “Success Story: Japanese Immigrant Economic Achievement Before World War II” with special guest Masao Suzuki, professor of economics at Skyline College, on Saturday, June 15, at 1 p.m.

During the 1960s when the civil rights movement was demanding redress for the historic racial inequality in the United States, Japanese and other Asian Americans were often portrayed as “model minorities” who overcame discrimination through their own efforts. This talk will take another approach, showing how Japanese Americans underwent a process of selective immigration, return migration, and family formation. The Nisei were a result of this triple selection process because their parents were more educated and had a higher occupational status, compared to both Japanese immigrants and native Japanese.

Suzuki has a Ph.D. in economics from Stanford, where he wrote his dissertation on “Japanese American Economic Achievement, 1900-1942.” He lives in San Jose with his wife and daughter, and is a long-time activist with the Nihonmachi Outreach Committee and the South Bay Committee Against Political Repression.

Free with museum admission.

The museum is open Thursday through Sunday from 12 to 4 p.m. For more information, visit www.jamsj.org.

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