Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

JANM’s Annual Oshogatsu Family Festival on Jan. 3


The Japanese American National Museum is holding its annual Oshogatsu Family Festival on Sunday, January 3, 2016, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The new year celebration will include free crafts, performances, and cultural activities for people of all ages to help ring in the Year of the Monkey. JANM is located at 100 N. Central Ave., Los Angeles.

Highlights of the day include demonstrations of the ancient art of candy sculpting, a scavenger hunt, a Curious George-themed bounce house, and a mochitsuki (rice pounding) demonstration.

All Day Activities:
Visitors can make their own monkey puppets and learn to fold an origami monkey.

Coloring pages will help visitors learn about qualities of people born in the Year of the Monkey as well as the 11 other signs of the Asian zodiac.

Guests can explore JANM’s current Giant Robot Biennale 4 exhibition to complete a scavenger hunt and receive a custom JANM x Giant Robot sticker.

In celebration of Giant Robot Biennale 4 and its emphasis on drawing, visitors can customize a sketchbook to fill with drawings during the coming year.

A Nerdbot photo booth with a monkey mascot will provide souvenir photos for guests to take home. Guests can also take their own photos in JANM’s monkey stuffed animal “petting zoo.”

Toddlers can have fun or relax with an adult who brought them in the JANM toddler room. The film Monkey Kingdom, about the monkeys of South Asia, will be screening in the toddler room throughout the day.

Kids can jump into the new year in a Curious George-themed bounce house.

Fukubukuro (lucky grab bags) will be available for purchase at the JANM Store.

Scheduled Activities:

11:30 a.m.: JANM docents will lead a tour suitable for families of the museum’s ongoing exhibition Common Ground: The Heart of Community.

12 p.m.–1 p.m.: JANM members can enjoy osechi, traditional Japanese new year foods.

12 p.m.–5 p.m.: Shan Ichiyanagi (Shan the Candyman) will demonstrate the ancient, and now rarely practiced, Asian folk art of candy sculpting. Finished pieces, including some shaped liked monkeys, will be raffled off throughout the day.

12:15 p.m.: JANM volunteer Kathryn Madara will read Monkey King by Ed Young.

1 p.m.: Kidding Around the Kitchen will serve free bowls of lucky zaru soba (buckwheat noodles) to bring good health in the new year (while supplies last).

1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.: Coed Choreo, Palos Verdes Peninsula High School’s national championship-winning hip-hop dance team will perform.

1:30 p.m.: The public can sample osechi, traditional Japanese new year foods, while supplies last.

1:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m. Free balloons shaped like monkeys will be given away (limit one per child, while supplies last; line ends at 4 p.m.).

2 p.m. and 4 p.m.: Kodama Taiko will present its unique mochitsuki (rice pounding) demonstration, which incorporates taiko drumming. Mochi samples will be available while supplies last.

3 p.m.: Kinnara Taiko will present a shishimai, a traditional Japanese Lion Dance.

In addition to the 12 p.m. osechi tasting, additional special access and benefits for JANM members will be available. These include priority lines at activities and reserved seating at some performances.

Admission to Common Ground: The Heart of Community and Giant Robot Biennale 4 exhibitions is free during Oshogatsu. For more information about JANM’s 2016 Oshogatsu Family Festival, visit


Giant Robot Biennale 4
Through January 24, 2016
Giant Robot Biennale 4, produced in collaboration with Giant Robot founder Eric Nakamura, examines the evolution of the Giant Robot aesthetic from its humble origins in drawing to its many celebrated manifestations in painting, installation, muralism, and photography.

Common Ground: The Heart of Community
Incorporating hundreds of objects, documents, and photographs collected by JANM, this exhibition chronicles 130 years of Japanese American history, from the early days of the Issei pioneers through the World War II incarceration to the present.

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 17 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 or call 213.625.0414.

Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a 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, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Examiner.comJade Magazine and

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2016 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

Leave a Reply

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

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

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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 )

Connecting to %s

Follow Backstage Pass with Lia Chang on