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Natsumatsuri — A Free Day of Fun for All

Saataa andagi was served at last year’s Natsumatsuri. (J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo)

The Japanese American National Museum will present its annual Natsumatsuri Family Festival on Saturday, Aug. 19, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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

Highlights of the day will include a performance and taiko drumming workshop by Yuujou Daiko, performances by Koshin Taiko and Minyo Station, a martial arts demonstration by Aikido Cultural Institute, a happi coat photo booth, and a scavenger hunt. In addition, cast members from “Letters to Eve,” an epic World War II musical about the power of music and literature, will perform songs from the production.

Craft activities will include origami, pinwheel making 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 fold paper cranes for Harvest for Hope, a project that aims to collect 1.5 million cranes in memory of children who died during the Holocaust.

Exhibitions on view for Natsumatsuri include JANM’s ongoing core exhibition, “Common Ground: The Heart of Community” and “New Frontiers: The Many Worlds of George Takei,” which closes the following day (Aug. 20).

Scheduled activities:

11:30 a.m.: Koshin Taiko, known for their rousing kumi-daiko (ensemble taiko) performances using okedou (rope-tightened) drums.

12:30 p.m.: Bon Odori community dance led by Elaine Fukmoto.

1:30 p.m.: San Gabriel’s Yuujou Daiko, whose name means “friendship.” (Reserved seating for members)

2 p.m.: Taiko workshop with Yuujou Daiko.

3 p.m.: A variety of instructors from Aikido Cultural Institute will demonstrate elements of aikido, iaido (swordsmanship) and classical weapons arts. (Reserved seating for members)

3:45 p.m.: Excerpts from “Letters to Eve,” which centers on the stories of an incarcerated Japanese American family and a black jazz musician capture during Germany’s occupation of France.

4:30 p.m.: Minyo Station will perform a unique blend of traditional Japanese folk music and contemporary Western influences.

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

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