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Free Family Day to Celebrate JA History

“Celebrate Japanese American History” will be the theme of Free Family Day on Saturday, April 8, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Japanese American National Museum, 100 N. Central Ave. in Little Tokyo.

Learn about Japanese American history and actor/activist George Takei with crafts and activities inspired by the exhibitions “Instructions to All Persons: Reflections on Executive Order 9066” and “New Frontiers: The Many Worlds of George Takei.”

All-day activities:

Kizuna Craft Stations —  Get a head start on Kodomo no Hi (Children’s Day, May 5) with partnering organization Kizuna, who will teach participants to make koinobori (carp streamers) and origami samurai hats.

Ruthie’s Origami Corner — Learn to fold beautiful origami bird pins, much like the ones that were made by incarcerated Japanese Americans during World War II.

Drawing Activity — When Japanese Americans were sent to camps, they were allowed to take only what they could carry. What would you put into your suitcase? Draw a few of your favorite things onto paper suitcases.

JANM x Kizuna Photo Booth — What does America mean to you? Make a slogan or sign and pose with it in the photo booth, brought to you by Nerdbot.

Comic Book Education — Learn about famous Japanese Americans the fun way. Assemble and take home a special mini-comic book created by the Smithsonian Institution about the lives of former U.S. Secretary of Transportation (and current chair of JANM’s Board of Trustees) Norman Y. Mineta and civil rights activists Fred Korematsu and Yuri Kochiyama.

Paper Puppets — Make a paper puppet of your favorite notable Japanese American, or other personal hero. Templates will be available.

Passport Travel — View “New Frontiers” and complete the passport given to visitors. Show your completed passport to a volunteer at the survey table to claim a prize. Limit one prize per person, while supplies last.

Scheduled activities:

Story Time — Throughout the day (11:30 a.m., 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 p.m.), volunteers from JANM and Kizuna will read stories that share the Japanese American experience, including: “Barbed Wire Baseball: How One Man Brought Hope to the Japanese Internment Camps of WWII” by Marissa Moss with illustrations by Yuko Shimizu; “The Cat Who Chose to Dream” by Loriene Honda with illustrations by Jimmy Tsutomu Mirikitani; “An Astronaut’s Legacy: The Story of Ellison S. Onizuka” by Lisa Nikaido Arakaki with illustrations by Mitchell Fong; “Excelsior: The Many Lives of George Takei,” a comic book published in conjunction with the New Frontiers exhibition.

Spam Musubi Workshop — From 1 to 4 p.m., Volunteers from Kizuna will lead a drop-in workshop on how to create this delicious and uniquely Japanese American treat. While supplies last.

Plus, free admission all day to see: “Instructions to All Persons: Reflections on Executive Order 9066,” “New Frontiers: The Many Worlds of George Takei,” “Only the Oaks Remain: The Story of Tuna Canyon Detention Station,” and “Common Ground: The Heart of Community.”

For more information, call (213) 625-0414 or visit

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