JAMsj E-News
Japanese American Museum of San Jose
August 2013
In This Issue
JAMsj Unveils New Chidori Band and SJ Taiko Exhibit
Meet the Author: Tom Graves
Craft Class -- Pyramid Star Box
Special Film Screening: Jake Shimabukuro -- Life on Four Strings
Discussion: Conscience in Action
Book Club: Across Two Worlds -- Memoirs of a Nisei Flower Grower
Grandparents Day
Calendar of Events
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New JAMsj Exhibits
JAMsj Unveils New
Chidori Band
SJ Taiko Exhibits

Visitors at Japantown festivals enjoy live music and drumming performed by San Jose's Chidori Band or San Jose Taiko (SJT). Learn about these musical legends via new exhibits at the Japanese American Museum of San Jose (JAMsj) on display through December 2013. This year, they celebrate hallmark anniversaries -- Chidori Band's 60th and SJT's 40th.


Come and learn about their early beginnings, the performers, attire, and performances through artifacts, photos, and interactive technology. 


SJT's contemporary style of taiko was amongst the first to incorporate instruments and rhythms of other world music with the traditional beats of Japanese taiko. Also known for their choreography and joyful energy, SJT travels beyond the state, performing nationally and internationally at Performing Arts Centers. They put San Jose on the worldwide map.   


Kimono-clad dancers glide to the music of the Chidori Band during the annual Obon.  Their exhibit, "Music and Memories" includes the original score of the Chidori Band Ondo, a favorite at Obon time, as well as a scrapbook.  Masayo

image from www.chidoriband.com

Arii, a founding member, recalls that when returning from camp, there was no recreation ... "nothing for the Issei, Japanese-speaking people ... They put in long hours and this was something that brought them enjoyment and a little relaxation."   


The Japantown air is permeated by a keen sense of harmony as evidenced by these two groups. JAMsj is proud to be a partnering organization with these performing arts groups -- an integral aspect of our history and culture.   

Questions? Please contact Aggie Idemoto at the Museum: info@jamsj.org, (408) 294-3138, or access the web site, (www.jamsj.org).  

Meet the Author
Tom Graves
author of
Twice Heroes: American's Nisei Veterans
of WWII and Korea

Saturday, August 3, 2013 
1:00 p.m.

Japanese American Museum San Jose  
535 N. Fifth Street
San Jose, CA  95112

At first denigrated and mistrusted, America's Nisei veterans, now in

Cover art image courtesy of Tom Graves

their 80s and 90s, earned the praise of a nation, and ultimately, a Congressional Gold Medal, America's highest civilian honor.


Author and photographer Tom Graves shares the stories of Japanese American veterans before, during, and after WWII. Graves spent a decade collecting the veterans' stories. During this period, he spent thousands of hours interviewing scores of veterans around the country and then translated the results into individual stories of the human spirit. InTwice Heroes, each black-and-white portrait (there are 98 in the oversize book) introduces us to a veteran. The corresponding interview reveals a story of growing up in a racist America, fighting for the same country against foreign enemies as young men at war, and looking back as old men with the wisdom of their years.

Author Tom Graves  


Tom Graves is a member of the JACL, the USMC Combat Correspondents Association, and the USS San Francisco CA-38 Memorial Foundation, as well as being on the board of directors of the 99th Infantry Battalion Educational Foundation. His book Twice Heroes is available at the Japanese American Museum of San Jose (www.jamsj.org), and at www.TwiceHeroes.com.

Cost: Free with admission to the museum (non-members, $5; students and seniors over age 65, $3; JAMsj members and children under 12, free). 


Contact PublicPrograms@jamsj.org or call (408) 294-3138 to reserve a spot.
Craft Class

Pyramid Star Box
with guest instructor, Vicky Mihara-Avery

Sunday, August 11, 2013
1:00 p.m.


Japanese American Museum San Jose  
535 N. Fifth Street 
San Jose, CA  95112
Pyramid box opens into a four-point star.

Photo courtesy of Vicky Mihara-Avery

Closed, the pyramid box can be used as a unique container for a small gift. 
Photo courtesy of Vicky Mihara-Avery 

Popular paper crafts expert Vicky Mihara-Avery returns to JAMsj for a hands-on, box-making class. When closed, it is a wonderful pyramid box.  When open, it transforms into a four-point star ornament!  Students will learn box-making techniques to wrap cardboard triangles with beautiful paper and hinge them to a square bottom. Ribbons are then attached to tie the points together to make the pyramid box.


This program will also include a trunk show featuring products from Mihara-Avery's online store, PaperFestival.com, including papers that work well with the techniques taught in this class. For more information about the products, visit her website at http://www.paperfestival.com. 


Vicky Mihara-Avery 


Vicky Mihara-Avery is the third generation in her family to promote and share the experience of Japanese paper crafts. She recently made guest appearances on Martha Stewart, the Carol Duvall Show, and Good Morning America. She has also been an invited lecturer and instructor at museums, festivals, and origami conferences around the country.

Cost: $10 class fee plus admission to the museum (non-members, $5; students and seniors over age 65, $3; JAMsj members and children under 12, free).

Class fee is reduced to $5 for members who are active volunteers at the museum. An additional $3 materials fee (cash only) will be collected at the beginning of class. 

RSVP early (20 students max). Please contact PublicPrograms@jamsj.org or call (408) 294-3138 to reserve a spot. 

Special Film Screening

Jake Shimabukuro:  Life on Four Strings
Photo courtesy of CAAM
  Sunday, August 14, 2013 
1:00 p.m.

Japanese American Museum San Jose  

535 N. Fifth Street
San Jose, CA  95112

The Japanese American Museum of San Jose (JAMsj
Photo courtesy of CAAM
) is pleased to announce that we will be  one of the host venues for the Center for Asian American Media's 2013 CAAMfest San Jose. In partnership with the Contemporary Asian Theater Scene (CATS), we will be screening Jake Shimabukuro: Life on Four Strings. This film premiered at the 2012 CAAMfest in San Francisco to a sold-out audience and moved the audience to tears.



"Music communicates the purest form of human emotion."

- Jake Shimabukuro


Photo courtesy of CAAM
This film is a compelling portrait of an inspiring and inventive musician whose virtuoso skills on the ukulele have transformed all previous notions of the instrument's potential. Through intimate conversations with Shimabukuro, Life on Four Strings reveals the cultural and personal influences that have shaped the man and the musician. On the road from Los Angeles to New York to Japan, the film captures the essence of solitary life on tour: the exhilaration of performance, the wonder of newfound fame, the loneliness of separation from home and family. Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Tadashi Nakamura, this documentary will truly touch your heart. 


The 2013 CAAMfest San Jose runs from August 16 to 18. Please visit the  CAAM website for more information.

Cost: Free with admission to the museum (nonmembers, $5; students and seniors over age 65, $3; JAMsj members and children under 12, free).   Please contact PublicPrograms@jamsj.org or call (408) 294-3138 to reserve a spot.

Conscience in Action
Photo courtesy of Shizue Siegel
Saturday, August 31, 2013
1:00 p.m.

Japanese American Museum San Jose  

535 N. Fifth Street
San Jose, CA  95112

Ordinary people become heroes when they reach across boundaries and turn conscience into action, like J.B. Peckham, who helped San Jose Issei acquire land; Josephine Duveneck, who helped internees at Tanforan; Earl Finch, an Alabaman who helped hundreds of soldiers in the 442nd. Because today's political and social systems are not functioning as well as they should, ordinary heroes working together are more necessary than ever.


Join us as Shizue Siegel, author of In Good Conscience: Supporting Japanese Americans During the Internment, discusses these stories, as well as others. Why did they do it? Did it affect not only the people they helped but also their own lives? Why are their stories relevant today?   These are just some of the questions that will undoubtedly be posed during this session.
Shizue Seigel


Shizue Seigel is a San Francisco Sansei with roots in San Jose. Her writing and artwork explore the multi-layered cross currents of the Japanese American legacy. Seigel's poetry and prose have been published in several anthologies. Her artwork, which is archived at UC Santa Barbara, has been exhibited locally, nationally, and internationally. 

Cost: Free with admission to the museum (non-members, $5; students and seniors over age 65, $3; JAMsj members and children under 12, free).   


Please email PublicPrograms@JAMsj.org or call the JAMsj office at (408) 294-3138 to reserve your spot.    

JAMsj Book Club

Across Two Worlds:  Memoirs of a Nisei Flower Grower


by Yoshimi Shibata 


Saturday, September 7, 2013

1:00 p.m.


  Japanese American Museum San Jose  

535 N. Fifth Street
San Jose, CA  95112


Attend the Book Club meeting Saturday, September 7, 2013, 1:00 pm at the Japanese American Museum of San Jose (JAMsj), 535 North Fifth Street in San Jose when Across Two Worlds: Memoirs of a Nisei Flower Grower by Yoshimi Shibata will be discussed. Shibata, along with his family owns and operates Mt. Eden Floral Company, headquartered in San Jose, CA. His daughter, Naomi Shibata agreed to join the discussion to share insights as a flower-grower's daughter.


Bill Hosokawa notes in the foreword: "Shibata writes much as he speaks . . . the real "Shimi" comes through in an unexpected manner. He is honest and genuine, and that is the charm of his story. Our history is enriched that he persisted in his writing, just as he persisted in everything he undertook in a long and worthy life."


The author shares principles for life and business such as his father's advice, "You have to be like a samurai -- Never, never, never, never give up" and one of his own guiding principles, "Play it straight. Don't cheat anyone to win." These are but two of the many inspirational lessons from Shimi.


Books are available for purchase at the Museum Store, Thursday - Sunday, 12:00 noon to 4:00 pm. Questions? Contact Book Club facilitator, Aggie Idemoto, aggieidemoto@gmail.com  or call JAMsj at (408) 294-3138. The Book Club meets the first Saturday, every other month and is open to the public. Selections align with the Museum's focus -- Japanese American art, history and culture and are chosen collaboratively at the end of each meeting. 


Grandparents Day 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.


   Japanese American Museum San Jose     

535 N. Fifth Street
San Jose, CA  95112


Yu-Ai Kai
588 N. Fourth Street
San Jose, CA  95112


Yu-Ai Kai (YAK) and the Japanese American Museum of San Jose (JAMsj) are teaming up to present an array of activities for grandparents and grandchildren on Sunday, September 8, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., in San Jose's historic Japantown. Grandparents and grandchildren are invited to start off by checking in at JAMsj and viewing the exhibits together. There will also be plenty of arts and crafts activities to be enjoyed, storytelling, and more.


"We wanted to celebrate and recognize our elders, particularly in their role as grandparents, and together with JAMsj, we have put together a program of intergenerational and intercultural sharing," says Sophie Horiuchi-Forrester, YAK executive director.   Per the mission of both agencies, the activities will focus on Japanese and Japanese American culture and traditions. JAMsj board president, Aggie Idemoto, adds, "In addition to cross-generational learning opportunities, Grandparents Day will provide a way for grandparents and grandchildren to explore both agencies and learn what they do for the community. "


In 1978, President Jimmy Carter proclaimed that National Grandparents Day would be celebrated every year on the first Sunday after Labor Day. As cited in the proclamation, the day's purpose is "to honor grandparents, to give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children's children, and to help children become aware of the strength, information, and guidance older people can offer."

Cost: To honor our grandparents, JAMsj is waiving the admission charge for any grandparent accompanied by a grandchild. 

No RSVP required.

Calendar of Events

Through December 2013:  Chidori Band and SJ Taiko Exhibit
August 3, 2013: 
Meet the Author: Tom Graves
For more information about our public programs, please contact PublicPrograms@JAMsj.org

  JAMsj logo

Japanese American Museum of San Jose (JAMsj)
535 N. Fifth Street
San Jose, CA 95112
Tel: (408) 294-3138
Email: mail@jamsj.org