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‘The Spirit of Monozukuri’ at Petersen Automotive Museum

Sets of automobiles illustrate “The Roots of Monozukuri.”

For 60 years, Japanese cars have had a presence in the United States, having begun to challenge domestic market dominance in the 1970s. No American exhibit has adequately explored the associated synthesis of Eastern and Western automobile manufacturing philosophies and methods.

Monozukuri — interpreted as “the art, science, and craft of making things” — is a recently conceived but critical concept that explains these phenomena. Through carefully selected sets of automobiles, The Petersen Automotive Museum’s newest exhibit, “The Roots of Monozukuri: Creative Spirit in Japanese Automaking,” illuminates key aspects of monozukuri, including creative engineering, craftsmanship, efficiency, endurance, and utility.

Visitors will leave with a deeper understanding of how the Japanese automotive industry became a force to be reckoned with, and why Japanese cars are now essential to American life.

While it is used to describe automobile manufacturing, the term monozukuri applies to a much broader set of artistic, technological, and manufacturing endeavors. From the creation of tangible products like electronics to traditional Japanese arts like calligraphy and bonsai trees, it is the philosophy of pride in creative output and striving always for perfection.

Whether utilizing monozukuri on the manufacturing floor or in a small pottery studio, the spirit of monozukuri weaves its way through much of Japanese craftsmanship and art. The Petersen Automotive Museum is hosting “The Spirit of Monozukuri” in celebration of and in conjunction with “The Roots of Monozukuri,” an exhibit that examines the unique characteristics of lean manufacturing in an automotive context. Various artisans, craftsmen, and performers will share how each industry utilizes monozukuri in the pursuit of their art.

“The Spirit of Monozukuri” will take place on the first weekend of November in correlation with Culture Day in Japan (Nov. 3). The festival as a whole will span the days during museum hours, and the featured event, “The Spirit of Monozukuri: Twilight Festival,” will be held after-hours on Saturday, Nov. 3.

Each day there will be a craft in the Discovery Center, and in the evenings there will be an extended demonstration in the Bruce Meyer Family Gallery so that guests can experience “The Spirit of Monozukuri” surrounded by the beautiful vehicles highlighted in “The Roots of Monozukuri.”

Over the course of the festival, there will be an artist showcase display on the Rob and Melani Walton second floor composed of various forms of artistic products exemplifying monozukuri. On Nov. 3, the artists themselves will attend, demonstrate, and showcase the spirit of monozukuri in their items during the Twilight Festival.

Featured artists: Naveen Rutgers (origami), Yoshio Ikezaki (sumi art), Robert Pressler (bonsai), California Japanese Ceramic Arts Guild (pottery/ceramics), Kimono SK (kimono), Sherrie Lin and students (ikebana), Yuki Uwasawa (singing bowl meditation), Yuujou Daiko (taiko), Fujima Seiyumi Kai (Nihon buyo/Japanese classical dance), Saeko Kujiraoka (koto). Calligraphy, iaido and kendo will also be demonstrated.

Performers at “Spirit of Monozukuri” will include Yuujou Daiko.

The schedule is as follows:

Friday, Nov. 2

4 p.m.: Iaido and kendo demonstration

Saturday, Nov. 3

11 a.m.: Large-scale calligraphy art

6 p.m.: Singing bowl meditation

6:30 p.m.: Taiko performance and workshop

7 p.m.: Interactive artist showcase

Sunday, Nov. 4

2 p.m.: Nihon buyo

Friday and Sunday events require general admission to the museum. Saturday events require Twilight Festival RSVP.

The museum is located at 6060 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Admission: $16 for adults (age 18-61), $14 for seniors (62+), $11 for children (4-17).

Convenient parking is available at the museum. Parking is free for the first 30 minutes. Parking for visitors with disabilities is provided on level P1. The Petersen has 3 EV charging ports for electric vehicles located on the south side of P1. The parking garage entrance is located on Fairfax Avenue.

For more information, call (323) 964-6331, email or visit

Exhibit sponsored by Rolex and supported by Nissan, with additional support by Mitsubishi Motors.

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