Japanese American National Museum Magazine

These articles were originally published in the print member's magazine of the Japanese American National Museum.

culture en

From Obon to Kumi Daiko: Big Drum in Hawai`i

The steady beat of a taiko has long provided the accompaniment for Bon-odori celebrations in Hawai`i. The taiko tradition has been passed along from generation to generation and from one family member to another. Third-generation taiko player Kay (Watanabe) Fukumoto, who learned Obon taiko from her grandfather Tomio and her father, Albert Watanabe—former Keahua plantation musician—recalls: “Ever since I can remember, my mom would take me to my dad’s taiko practices during Obon season. My sister and I would just hang out and watch the old men get together and practice and play and socialize afterwards. At a certain point …


business en

Reflections of a Gardener's Son

My Dad was working as a gardener when I was born. Then, when I was in first grade, he dropped his gardening work to establish a fruit-stand business, which was just starting to do well when Pearl Harbor was attacked. We lost everything when they sent us to Heart Mountain. After the war he went back into gardening because it was cheaper to buy a lawn mower and pick up a few jobs than to invest in another business. I reluctantly joined my dad and worked as his helper for a while. We argued, because he had that work ethic …


media en

Japanese American Gardeners: Their Stories and Their Landscapes

Few Japanese art forms have enjoyed as much popularity in the United States as the Japanese-style garden. First introduced to this country at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition, these gardens immediately captured the imagination of the American public. Displays of Japanese-style gardens and pavilions soon became a fixture at virtually all expositions and World’s Fairs, and they also proliferated in public parks, school grounds, business properties, and private estates of the wealthy. By 1920, many of today’s popular gardens had already been constructed. This included the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park (1894), the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden …


culture en

Strength in Beauty: Ruth Asawa

"I can see glimpses of my childhood in my work. The seemingly endless patterns we made in the dust, the shapes of the flowers and the vegetation, the translucence of a dragonfly’s wing when sunlight pours through it—these things have influenced my work.” - Ruth Asawa, 2001

Strength in Beauty

For Nisei artist Ruth Asawa, her work reflects the richness of everyday life and the beauty of ordinary things. Her intricately crocheted wire sculptures, lithographs, and drawings, speak of the organic foliage and flower forms she encountered while working on her family’s farm in Norwalk, California.

Born in 1926, the …


culture en

Hideo Date: An Introduction

He hung up the phone, but not before he had politely, yet firmly, asked me not to call again. It was almost 10 years ago. I was a young curator who had finally found Hideo Date living in New York, in Queens.

I had heard bits and pieces about Date and his art from a variety of sources, art historians and community folk alike. An idiosyncratic personality who had lived and worked in the heady days of pre-World War II Los Angeles, his was a name that had circulated on people’s lips as an underknown and underrecognized find: he had …



art gardener gardeners gardening hawaii hideo date Japanese American gardeners Japanese Garden landscape architect nurseries org:janm ruth asawa taiko Yoshi Kuromiya