The Japanese American National Museum, 369 E. First St. in Little Tokyo, will present Target Free Family Saturday: Monster Mash on April 14.

Enjoy a day of monster-related fun and crafts for the whole family. Generously sponsored by Target, these special Saturdays are filled with activities giving families unique ways to learn, play, and grow together.

Mark Nagata

Add fun to your footsteps and terror to your trot by making monster feet. Make a colorful zigzag monster puppet. Create a friendly or ferocious creature using a variety of fun supplies brought out from the museum’s art supply closet.

At Ruthie’s Origami Corner, impress your friends with an origami monster.


11 a.m. — Doors open

1 to 4 p.m. — Join Kidding Around the Kitchen and come cut up some crazy ingredients to make your own Healthy Monster Mash Mix.

Get your face or hands monsterized by a professional face-painter.

What would you look like as a monster? Get a monster caricature by a professional artist.

2 p.m. — Artist, toy designer, and unofficial kaiju (Japanese monster) toy and art ambassador Mark Nagata will talk about kaiju toys and how they are made.

4 p.m. — Doors close.

Kidding Around the Kitchen

KATK brings a hands-on cooking experience and lesson in which kids actively participate in the preparation of recipes. The result of their cutting, measuring, cooking, and then eating their creations is more than simply a lesson in health. They get to see, touch, smell, and taste the fruits, vegetables, nuts, cheeses, eggs, meats, and other ingredients that they may never have previously seen in their raw form.

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Mark Nagata

Ask anyone who knows Nagata to describe him and the two things that will come up are toys and art.

Kaiju TriPus (glow-in-dark version) created by Mark Nagata

After attending the Academy of Art College in San Francisco during the late 1980s and picking up a New York artist’s rep, he embarked on a 10-year plus journey as a freelance commercial illustrator. Over the years he’s worked with a diverse client list that has included Scholastic Books, Bantam Books, Harper Collins, Becketts Publications, Schlage Locks, AMD, Genentech, IBM, Square Soft, Activision, DC Comics, Sony, Galoob Toys, Lucasfilms, Hasbro Toys and numerous advertising and design firms nationally and internationally.

The highlight of this time included over 40 cover paintings for R.L. Stine’s horror fiction gamebook series for children, “Give Yourself Goosebumps.”

Churning out hundreds of assignments over the years, coupled with deadlines from hell, took a toll both mentally and physically.

“I had to reassess what was important in my life and refocus my abilities towards a new goal,” said Nagata. “I’d been collecting Japanese toys all along, and suddenly realized it would be cool to have a magazine of some type devoted to them.”

So it’s no surprise that he ended up creating and publishing Super7 Magazine. After successfully building the Super7 brand for nearly four years, it was time to sell and move on.

“I wasn’t able to paint as much as I wanted, and I realized that the part of Super7 I enjoyed the most was creating toys,” reflects Nagata.

The end of his involvement with Super7 is the beginning of his new venture called Max Toy Co. With a nod to the golden age of Japanese toys, it will continue the tradition of offering classic Japanese character toys by all the best toy companies.

Max Toy Co. will be producing its own exclusive toys, both licensed and original. A special Max Toy Club will be offered, allowing members exclusive toy variations and more.

“Max Toy Co. will allow me to produce original artwork, sculpt new toys, and work directly with a lot of my talented artist friends,” Nagata says.

Max Toy Co. is a synthesis of toys and art — both lifelong passions.

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Contact the museum at (213) 625-0414 or visit

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