Beginning Tuesday, the Japanese American National Museum (JANM), located at First Street and Central Avenue in Little Tokyo, is offering free weekday admission to all Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) students and their chaperones for the duration of the United Teachers Los Angeles strike.
During the week, JANM is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Thursdays from noon to 8 p.m. The museum is closed on Mondays. Final admissions are made 30 minutes prior to closing.
The intent of the free admission offer is to provide affected students and their parents or other chaperones a no-cost educational and enriching place to visit while their school experience is impacted. Students and chaperones will be able to view current exhibitions at their leisure; guided tours will not be provided as part of the offer.
JANM requests that there be at least one adult for every ten students visiting together as a group. For safety reasons and occupancy limits, and to ensure the best experience for all visitors, it’s recommended that groups of more than ten individuals make a reservation by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (213) 830-5601.
Exhibitions currently on view at JANM are:
• “Common Ground: The Heart of Community” (ongoing). 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.
• “Gambatte! Legacy of an Enduring Spirit” (through April 28). Modern and historical photographs documenting the stories of Japanese Americans who were forcibly incarcerated during World War II. Large-format contemporary photos taken by Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Paul Kitagaki Jr. are displayed next to images shot 75 years ago by such noted photographers as Dorothea Lange, Ansel Adams, and others; each pairing features the same individuals, or their direct descendants, as the subject matter. Inspired by the Japanese concept of “gambatte” — to triumph over adversity — the exhibition chronicles the strength and legacy of a generation of Japanese Americans who persevered over unimaginable hardship.
• “Kaiju vs. Heroes: Mark Nagata’s Journey through the World of Japanese Toys” (through March 24). In California in the 1970s, Mark Nagata was living an all-American childhood when an aunt and uncle serving on a U.S. military base in Japan sent him a box filled with some of that country’s most popular toys. They were kaiju and heroes, and these gifts inspired him to zealously collect vintage Japanese vinyl toys over the course of his entire life. Kaiju translates to “strange creature” in English but has come to mean “giant monster” referring to the creatures like Godzilla and Mothra that inhabited the postwar movie and television screens of Japan. The advent of these monsters brought about the creation of characters to combat them — hence the emergence of pop-culture heroes like Ultraman and Kamen Rider. This exhibition showcases hundreds of dazzling vintage and contemporary Japanese vinyl toys, providing a feast for the eyes and the imagination.