Tanabata at JANM 2009


After witnessing the beautifully elaborate Tanabata decorations in Sao Paulo, the Discover Nikkei staff who went to Brazil in 2007 asked, Yoshihito Yonezawa, president of Nanka Miyagi Kenjinkai if he had a plan to have a Tanabata festival in Los Angeles. This one question motivated Mr. Yonezawa, it had been his dream to have one but didn’t have any plans at the time. He started approaching various Nikkei community leaders and organizations to make the tanabata festival happen in Los Angeles. In July 2008, Mr. Yonezawa came back to the Museum with five Tanabata decorations, which he and his family made for their Kenjinkai picnic, and asked if the Japanese American National Museum can put up the decorations during the Nisei Week. So the museum decorated the 5 kazari inside the museum during Nisei Week. They were so beautiful. Museum visitors & staff loved them. So, the National Museum agreed to do a tanabata program at the museum in following year (2009) and would hang 7 decorations in front of the museum building. Mr. Yonezawa had also approached Brian Kito of the Little Tokyo Public Safety Association and together with the Nisei Week Committee organized the First Annual Tanabata festival and the Museum immediately began collaborations on the project. The First Annual Tanabata festival took place outside of the Museum of Contemporary Art from August 14-17, 2009. The Japanese American National Museum contributed its own Tanabata decorations to the festivities and proudly displayed them outside the JANM Pavilion during this period. If you would like to know more about Tanabata festivals and the First Annual Tanabata Festival in Los Angeles, be sure to check out these articles! Tanabata Workshop: A Pre-Nisei Week Celebration by Japanese American National Museum: http://www.discovernikkei.org/en/journal/2009/5/13/tanabata-workshop/ Los Angeles Tanabata Matsuri - Part 1: The Meeting of Two Dreams: http://www.discovernikkei.org/en/journal/2009/9/17/tanabata/

Slides in this album 

Beautiful Papers from Japan

These wonderfully decorated sheets of paper are imported from Japan. Each has a distinct design and once they were arranged they measured about 3 meters long!

Beautiful Papers from Japan
提供: ylkawashima

The Base of the Kazari

By cleverly taking two baskets and attaching them by screws, the base form for the kazari was created. Through a little bit of ingenuity we were able to use the flowers to make them more spherical in shape.

The Base of our Tanabata Decorations
提供: ylkawashima

Kokeshi Heads

In light of the Japanese American National Museum's current Kokeshi Doll exhibit we decided to make two kokeshi doll tanabata kazari. The coordinator of the JANM Tanabata Project, Yoko, made paper-mache globes about 20" in diameter for the heads! One of the museum's staff, Emi, designed the faces for these …

Kokeshi Heads for Tanabata Decorations
提供: ylkawashima


It took at least 2000 flowers to make all 7 Tanabata decorations! The Discover Nikkei office had flowers everywhere as we tried to get all of them done.

提供: ylkawashima

More Flowers!

But of course the daunting task of thousands of flowers could not be completed without the help of the museum staff, interns, volunteers, and their families and friends! People took them home to complete and would bring bag bags full of flowers. There were boxes and boxes filled with different …

Paper Flowers for Tanabata Decorations
提供: ylkawashima

Painting the Kokeshi Body

And thus begin the arduous task of painting the bodies for the kokeshi dolls. With our lovely and talented painter in residence, Vicky, we began the painting process!

Painting the Kokeshi Body for the Fukinagashi
提供: ylkawashima

Kokeshi Body #2

Working on Kokeshi Body #2. Working on Kokeshi Body #2. Vicky devoted a lot of time and energy to bring color and life into these kokeshi bodies.

This kokeshi body was designed by me...Yoshimi Kawashima.

Painting the Kokeshi Body #2
提供: ylkawashima

Completed Kokeshi Body #2

The painting of this Kokeshi body is complete! Now to cut them into long strips to flow beautifully in the wind for the Tanabata decorations.

Completed Kokeshi Body #2 for JANM Tanabata decoration
提供: ylkawashima

Discover Nikkei Intern Love for Kokeshi

Kacie, the Discover Nikkei intern through the Nikkei Community Internship (NCI), shares her love of Jasmine tea with our first Kokeshi!

Discover Nikkei Intern Love for Kokeshi - Kacie
提供: ylkawashima

Our JANM Logo

Well...since we have purple and white we have to be spirited and get creative: make a kazari of our JANM logo! This one had to be the hardest one to do! We made flowers about a quarter size of the regular paper flowers to try to get the design right! …

Tanabata decoration - JANM Logo
提供: ylkawashima

Tying the Rope to the Decorations

Our very own "Boy Scouts" tying the knots for the ropes to ensure that they will firmly support the suspended tanabata decorations.

Preparing rope to hang the JANM Tanabata Decorations
提供: ylkawashima

The First of Seven

And...it's up! The first of our tanabata decorations is up! In light of JANM's current kokeshi doll exhibit this decoration represents a cute kokeshi figure!

Intern Everett Lee-Sung gives the okay and gives an enthusiastic thumbs up for a job well done!

Hanging the Kokeshi Tanabata at JANM
提供: ylkawashima

All Seven are Up!

Once they were hung with the streamers beautifully flowing in the wind, we all stood back and admired the fruits of our hard work. They seemed so much smaller once they were hanging from from the roof, but nevertheless their bright colors were eye-catching.

All Seven are Up! JANM Tanabata Decorations
提供: ylkawashima

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