Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

George Takei Receives Distinguished Medal of Honor at Japanese American National Museum’s 2015 Gala Dinner; JANM Acquires Japanese American Incarceration Artifacts once slated for public auction

George Takei accepting his Distinguished Medal of Honor for Lifetime Achievement and Public Service at the 2015 Japanese American National Museum Gala Dinner on May 2, 2015. Photo courtesy of JANM/Facebook

George Takei accepting his Distinguished Medal of Honor for Lifetime Achievement and Public Service at the 2015 Japanese American National Museum Gala Dinner on May 2, 2015. Photo courtesy of JANM/Facebook

George Takei received JANM’s Distinguished Medal of Honor for Lifetime Achievement and Public Service at the Japanese American National Museum’s 2015 Gala Dinner at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles on May 2, 2015. The Gala dinner is JANM’s largest annual fundraising event and the evening’s theme was  To Boldly Go: Sharing Our Story Across the Generations.  Takei was among the over 120,000 Japanese Americans forcibly incarcerated following the bombing of Pearl Harbor during World War II. But after a childhood spent in American concentration camps, Takei went on to a groundbreaking acting role as Sulu on the Star Trek television series. He has since continued to serve as a beloved pop culture icon and evolved into a respected civil rights activist.

At the dinner JANM announced that it has acquirea collection of more than 400 pieces of historical art and artifacts created by Japanese Americans incarcerated during World War II. JANM’s acquisition ensures these artifacts will be properly preserved and honors the interests of Japanese Americans across the country who expressed concern for the future of these items.

Sculpted Kobu. Photos by: Rago Arts and Auction Center

Sculpted Kobu. Photos by: Rago Arts and Auction Center

Dining Chair. Photo by: Rago Arts and Auction Center

Dining Chair. Photo by: Rago Arts and Auction Center

JANM worked through Rago Arts and Auction Center in New Jersey and the consignor to acquire the private collection, which includes artifacts and photographs collected by Allen Hendershott Eaton who wrote a book in 1952 publicizing the injustice of America’s concentration camps for Japanese Americans, where more than 120,000 men, women, and children were kept behind barbed wire by their own country.

“The mission of the Japanese American National Museum is to share this story,” said JANM President and CEO Greg Kimura. “We honor the sacrifice of our forebears who suffered to prove their loyalty to the U.S. by ensuring that such Constitutional violations never happen again. I’m very pleased that our museum, Rago Arts and Auction Center, and the John Ryan family of Connecticut, which possessed the artifacts, were able to reach an agreement that reflects our mutual interests. We all want to see these items appropriately preserved.”

Camp Home Name Plates. Photos by: Rago Arts and Auction Center

Camp Home Name Plates. Photos by: Rago Arts and Auction Center

Takei was instrumental in convincing the auction house not to go forward with the sale. Takei said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times that he convinced Rago Arts’ founding partner David Rago to cancel the auction. “This collection wouldn’t be coming to JANM if it weren’t for the intervention and passion of George Takei,” Kimura said. “He stepped in to ask Rago that the auction be canceled, and, I mean, who can say no to George?”

Click here to read the full article.

Building upon JANM’s already sizable collection of art and artifacts, some of which are on display as part of its core exhibition Common Ground: The Heart of Community, the new Eaton acquisitions include nameplates carved from wood that were once attached to tar-paper barracks, as well as oil and watercolor paintings by Japanese American families living in the camps during World War II. The objects tell an important story for all Americans about the creativity and resilience of the human spirit, even in the face of extreme racial prejudice. 

Estelle Peck Ishigo, Oil on Canvas. Photos by: Rago Arts and Auction Center

Estelle Peck Ishigo, Oil on Canvas. Photos by: Rago Arts and Auction Center

“I believe that through understanding comes respect, and JANM continues to take major steps forward to increase the public’s understanding of a grievous chapter in American history,” said Takei, chairman emeritus of the museum’s Board of Trustees, and the fifth recipient of JANM’s Medal of Honor. “All of us can take to heart that our voices were heard and that these items will be preserved and the people who created them during a very dark period in our history will be honored. The collection will now reside at the preeminent American museum that tells the story of the Japanese American experience.”

Takei is only the fifth individual to receive JANM’s Medal of Honor. Prior recipients are the late Senator Spark Matsunaga (posthumously, 1991); the late Senator Daniel K. Inouye (1994); the late Akio Morita, co-founder of Sony Corporation (1996); and the Honorable Norman Y. Mineta (2012).

This fall, Takei will make his Broadway debut in Allegiance, A new American musical, which had its world premiere in a record-breaking engagement at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, co-starring along with Tony winner Lea Salonga and GLEE’s Telly Leung. Allegiance has a book by Marc Acito with music and lyrics by Jay Kuo. Helming the production is Olivier Award nominee Stafford Arima (London’s Ragtime, Off-Broadway’s BareCarrieAltar Boyz).

telly leung, george takei,lea salongaAllegiance is inspired by Takei’s true childhood experiences. Traversing the lush California heartland, the windswept prairies of Wyoming and the battlefields of war-torn Europe, Allegiance tells the epic multi-generational tale of deep family loyalty, romance, humor, optimism and unparalleled heroism in the face of fear and prejudice against Japanese-Americans during World War II and beyond.

Star Trek’s George Takei & Broadway Bound ALLEGIANCE Create Indiegogo Campaign as Endowment for the Japanese American National Museum 
Tony Award winner Lea Salonga and Telly Leung Set to Co-star with George Takei in ALLEGIANCE; Previews Begin at the Longacre Theatre on October 6

About the Japanese American National Museum (JANM)

Established in 1985, the Japanese American National Museum promotes understanding and appreciation of America’s ethnic and cultural diversity by sharing the Japanese American experience. Located in the historic Little Tokyo district of downtown Los Angeles, JANM is a hybrid institution that straddles traditional museum categories and strives to provide a voice for Japanese Americans as well as a forum that enables all people to explore their own heritage and culture. Since opening to the public, JANM has presented over 70 exhibitions onsite and traveled 16 of its exhibitions to locations around the world, including the Smithsonian Institution and the Ellis Island Museum in the United States, and several leading cultural museums in Japan and South America.

JANM is located at 100 N. Central Ave., Los Angeles. Museum hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursday from noon to 8 p.m. General admission is $9 adults, $5 students and seniors, free for members and children under age five. Admission is free to everyone on Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and every third Thursday of the month from noon to 8 p.m. General admission prices and free admission times may not apply to specially ticketed exhibitions. Closed Monday, 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. For more information visit janm.org or call 213.625.0414.

Related articles
Apr. 6: Open Call Auditions in Toronto for Broadway Bound ALLEGIANCE, Starring Star Trek’s George Takei, Tony Award Winner Lea Salonga and Glee’s Telly Leung
Star Trek’s George Takei & Broadway Bound ALLEGIANCE Create Indiegogo Campaign as Endowment for the Japanese American National Museum 
Tony Award winner Lea Salonga and Telly Leung Set to Co-star with George Takei in ALLEGIANCE; Previews Begin at the Longacre Theatre on October 6
George Takei Set for Broadway Debut in ALLEGIANCE in October
The Old Globe’s Production Photos of George Takei, Lea Salonga, Telly Leung and Paolo Montalban in World Premiere of Allegiance – A New American Musical
George Takei, Lea Salonga, Telly Leung and Paolo Montalban star in the World Premiere of Allegiance – A New American Musical at The Old Globe, September 7 – October 21, 2012

cropped-lia-chang_photo-by-carlos-flores-3.jpgLia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon and Taxman. She has guest starred on “One Life to Live,” “As the World Turns,” and “New York Undercover.” Lia starred as Carole Barbara in Lorey Hayes’ Power Play at the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C., with Pauletta Pearson Washington and Roscoe Orman. She is profiled in Jade Magazine.

Other Articles by Lia Chang:
Photos: Garth Kravits as a Statue of Liberty Street Performer on Showtime’s Nurse Jackie
The 2015 Broadway Cast Recording of The Lincoln Center Theater Production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King and I Starring Tony Award nominees Kelli O’Hara, Ken Watanabe and Ruthie Ann Miles, available on June 2; Extended Run and National Tour Announced
Photos: Edie Falco, Bryce Pinkham, Stephanie McKay, Lena Hall, Nick Blaemire, Jacob Ming-Trent, Matthew Saldívar at The 52nd Street Project’s Gala FANCY THAT
Photos and Video: Telly Leung, Yumi Kurosawa, Lei Pasifika, Soh Daiko perform at The Met’s Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month Celebration
Photos: Inside “China: Through the Looking Glass” at The Met with Wong Kar-Wai, Vivienne Tam, Wendi Murdoch, Anna Wintour and More
Tony Award® Nominees Omar Metwally and Arian Moayed star in Rajiv Joseph’s GUARDS AT THE TAJ at Atlantic Theater Company; Opens June 11
Original Cast of THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE including Jose Llana, Derrick Baskin, Deborah S. Craig, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Dan Fogler, Lisa Howard, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Jay Reiss, and Sarah Saltzberg, to Reunite for 10th Anniversary Benefit Concert on July 6
Ruthie Ann Miles, Helen Mirren, Kristin Chenoweth, Alex Sharp, Andy Karl, Annaleigh Ashford, Richard McCabe, Robert Fairchild Among 2015 Outer Critics Circle Winners; Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Leads with 5; The King and I, An American in Paris and Hamilton Each Receive 3
Hamilton Sweeps 2015 Lucille Lortel Awards with 10 Wins; Between Riverside and Crazy Garners 3
ABC Renews “Fresh Off the Boat” and Picks up Ken Jeong’s “Dr. Ken”
Photos: Aasif Mandvi, Sheetal Sheth, Jimmy O. Yang, Raymond J. Lee, Tobias Wong and more celebrate HBO’s AAPI Heritage Month Screening of Jonathan Yi’s “East of Main Street: Taking the Lead” Documentary 
White House Blog: Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month; ‏White House Summit on AAPIs is May 12
President Barack Obama’s Proclamation for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, 2015
JASMINE and TWINSTERS Take Top Honors at the 31st Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival; ADVANTAGEOUS, MISS INDIA AMERICA, THE KILLING FIELDS OF DR. HAING S. NGOR among the winners
HBO® Celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month With Jonathan Yi’s “East of Main Street: Taking the Lead” Documentary Featuring Lucy Liu, Daniel Dae Kim, BD Wong, Aasif Mandvi, Russell Wong, Lucille Soong, Jimmy O. Yang, Melanie Kannokada, Dennis Oh, Sheetal Sheth, Raymond J. Lee, Nivedita Kulkarni, Tobias Wong, Michelle Goike, Veronica Reyes-How and Katarina Zhu
America ReFramed: U.S. Broadcast premiere of Ursula Liang’s Award-winning Documentary 9-Man on WORLD Channel on May 5
AN AMERICAN IN PARIS AND FUN HOME Lead 2015 Tony Award Nominations with 12 each; Ken Watanabe, Ruthie Ann Miles, Kelli O’Hara, Chita Rivera, Bradley Cooper, Kristin Chenoweth, Bill Nighy, Helen Mirren, Elisabeth Moss, Carey Mulligan, Ruth Wilson, K. Todd Freeman, Patricia Clarkson Among the Nominees
Hamilton leads 2015 Drama Desk Awards Nominations with 13, along with An American in Paris, Something Rotten!, The Visit, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
81st Annual Drama League Awards Nominations
Hamilton tops Lucille Lortel Award Nominations along with Into the Woods, Between Riverside and Crazy, The Invisible Hand, The Nether and The Fortress of Solitude
Stephen Adly Guirgis’ Between Riverside and Crazy Garners 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Drama 
2014-15 Outer Critics Circle Award Nominations; Something Rotten!, On the Twentieth Century, An American in Paris garner most nods
Photos: Garth Kravits, Laura Benanti, Brian Nash, Lena Hall, Erin Davie and More in “Broadway Sings Tori” Benefit Concert for RAINN
Photos: David Byrne, Alex Timbers, Jaygee Macapugay, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Adam Guettel, Sarah Saltzberg and More Celebrate Jose Llana’s Lincoln Center American Songbook Debut
Jennifer Phang, Nikole Beckwith and Stewart Thorndike Receive SFFS Women Filmmaker Fellowships
POV Documentary ‘American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs’ Wins a Peabody Award
Photos: Traveling through the mouth of the Dragon with BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA’s James Hong, Peter Kwong, Lia Chang, Gerald Okamura, George Cheung, Al Leong, Jeff Imada, James Lew, Gary Goldman, Eric Lee, Joycelyne Lew
Jose Llana, Jill Paice,Telly Leung and more featured on TOKIO CONFIDENTIAL Recording; Set for Release May 12
An Intimate Evening with Author Amy Tan at the New-York Historical Society 
Video: The cast of HAMILTON at The Public Theater pays tribute to A Chorus Line on the 40th anniversary of its first performance in the Newman Theater at The Public
World Premiere Musical HAMILTON Transfers to Broadway; Previews begin July 13
Photos: Inside THE FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE CD Release Concert with André De Shields, Kevin Mambo, Adam Chanler-Berat, Michael Friedman and More
David Henry Hwang, Laura Poitras, Amitav Ghosh, Deeyah Khan, Bill Rauch, Robert Battle, Carrie Mae Weems named among 13 Ford Foundation “Art of Change” Fellows
Thom Sesma, Emily Padgett, J. Elaine Marcos and Thai Superstar Bie Sukrit lead the cast of the world premiere of WATERFALL at The Pasadena Playhouse, May 29 – June 28 and Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre, October 1-25
Joe Mantegna receives Lifetime Achievement Award for Film and Television from The Riverside International Film Festival
The Women in the Arts & Media Coalition, Inc.: 2015 Collaboration Award recognizing Women Working with Women Open Call
Award Winning Actor Raul Aranas Talks THE BLACKLIST, NAAP’S OLIVER!, Songwriting and the Zen of Cycling
Signature Theatre Company’s Founding Artistic Director James Houghton To Step Down After 2015-16 25th Anniversary Season
Photos: National Black Theatre Festival 2013; NBTF runs August 3-8, 2015 and will include Act III – A Celebration of Life Reception saluting the late theatre icon Garland Lee Thompson, Sr.
Photos: John W. Kuo, Jessica Hagedorn, and Neal Katyal Receive AALDEF 2015 Justice in Action Awards Crafting a Career
Click here  for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.
All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2015 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s