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JANM to Ring in Year of the Dog

The Japanese American National Museum will present its annual Oshogatsu Family Festival on Sunday, Jan. 7, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Admission to the New Year’s celebration featuring Japanese and Japanese American performances, crafts, and activities is free and all ages are welcome to help ring in the Year of the Dog.

Highlights will include a Japanese-style lion dance; two mochitsuki demonstrations, with mochi samples for tasting; a drawing demonstration and book-signing by comic book creator Stan Sakai, famous for his “Usagi Yojimbo” series; and sample bowls of lucky zaru soba (cold noodles) to bring good health in the new year. There will also be a variety of craft activities, book readings, souvenir photos, a koto performance, and more.

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All-day activities:

• Get into the spirit of the new year by making a hat that looks like a dog.

• Set a goal for the year and make a decorative paper daruma.

• Pose for a souvenir photo at the Nerdbot Photo Booth. (Express line for members.)

• Learn how to fold a barking paper dog at Ruthie’s Origami Corner.

• Enter the kids’ raffle to win a candy sculpture or children’s plate set. While supplies last. Limit one raffle ticket per child. (Members receive two chances to win a prize.)

• Learn about the qualities of people born in the Year of the Dog, as well as the 11 other signs of the Asian zodiac, at the coloring station.

• The museum’s youngest visitors can head to the Toddler Room to relax, play with other small children, or watch the animated film “The Secret Life of Pets,” which will be playing continuously all day. Children must be supervised by an accompanying adult at all times.

• The JANM Store will have fukubukuro (lucky grab bags) for purchase.

Scheduled activities:

11 a.m.–2 p.m.: Meet dogs that need a permanent home and learn about a fostering program presented in partnership with Dogs Without Borders.

11 a.m.–3 p.m.: Kidding Around the Kitchen will hand out sample bowls of lucky zaru soba to bring good health in the new year. Kids can top the soba with their choice of tofu, vegetables, and nori. While supplies last.

11:30 a.m.: Author and artist Joel Nakamura will read his newly published book “I Dreamed I Was a Dog” and sign copies, available for purchase at the JANM Store, after the reading.

11:30 a.m.–5 p.m.: Shan Ichiyanagi will demonstrate the ancient, and now rarely practiced, Asian folk art of candy sculpting, as he makes candy in the shape of dogs and other animals of the Asian zodiac. Finished pieces will be offered as prizes for the kids’ raffle.

12–4:30 p.m.: Sample a selection of traditional osechi ryori (Japanese New Year’s foods), including various sweets and vegetables, and learn about what each dish means. While supplies last. (Express line for members.)

12:30 p.m.: A JANM volunteer will read Yoshito Wayne Osaki’s critically acclaimed children’s book “My Dog Teny,” an autobiographical tale about the author’s own dog, whom he had to leave behind when he was incarcerated at Tule Lake concentration camp as a child during World War II.

1 p.m.–2 p.m.: Stan Sakai, the talented artist behind the graphic novel hero Usagi Yojimbo, will hold a drawing demonstration followed by a book-signing. Copies of his latest two books, “Usagi Yojimbo Vol. 31: The Hell Screen” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Usagi Yojimbo,” will be available for purchase in the JANM Store. (Reserved seating for members.)

1:30–2 p.m.: Los Angeles-based musician Yuki Yasuda will play the koto.

2:30 and 4:15 p.m.: Kodama Taiko will present its unique mochitsuki demonstration, which incorporates taiko drumming. Enjoy delicious mochi samples while supplies last.

3:30–4 p.m.: Take in a lively shishimai (Japanese-style lion dance) for good luck, accompanied by Kinnara Taiko. (Reserved seating for members.)

Exhibitions on view for Oshogatsu Family Festival include JANM’s ongoing core exhibition, “Common Ground: The Heart of Community,” and “Transpacific Borderlands: The Art of Japanese Diaspora in Lima, Los Angeles, Mexico City, and São Paulo.”

Jan. 7 will also mark the first public viewing day of “Contested Histories: Art and Artifacts from the Allen Hendershott Eaton Collection.” The display in the museum’s Hirasaki National Resource Center will showcase conserved items from the Eaton Collection, which was saved by the Japanese American community from the auction block in 2015. The museum hopes to collect more information about each artifact so that it can continue to preserve and catalog this important collection. The display will begin touring elsewhere in the U.S. later in 2018.

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