The Japanese American National Museum (JANM) will begin its 2021 Virtual Natsumatsuri Family Festival on Saturday, Aug. 14.

This online summer celebration will feature free Japanese and Japanese American virtual events, crafts, and activities for all ages.

Virtual activities:

Paper sun hat – Making your own unique and fun paper sun hats is a JANM tradition. Download the instructions to craft a wide-brimmed hat to shade yourself from summer rays. And learn about the historic inspiration for these protective bonnets.

Ruthie’s Origami Corner – Watch our video to learn how to fold a mini, paper yukata (summer kimono), popular attire during Japanese summer festivals. The video will premiere on on Aug. 14. This activity is named in honor of JANM volunteer Ruthie Kitagawa (1937–2020), who led origami activities at the museum for many years.

Colorful windsock – Join this video to make a festive decoration that waves in the wind. Inspired by the Tanabata Festival kazari (decorations) that fly above Little Tokyo during summer. The video for this activity will premiere at on Aug. 14.

Unboxed with JANM Collections – This installment of the Unboxed video series dives into JANM’s incredible photo collection of JA life as it explores summer food, fun, and festivals. The video for this activity will premiere on on Aug. 14.

Nikkei Matsuri Photo Activity (July 17–Aug. 22)

Every year, Nikkei communities around the world gather for fun cultural activities and food at matsuri (festivals). These events often celebrate specific occasions such as Tanabata and Obon. JANM’s Discover Nikkei project is compiling photos to share our global Nikkei community’s matsuri traditions. We want to see photos of your family’s participation in Bon odori, special foods, games, and other traditional (or non-traditional) decorations and celebrations.

To participate, just email your photo and a brief description to For complete submission guidelines and to view photos already submitted, visit Discover Nikkei.

This activity is presented in conjunction with the Nisei Week Foundation.

Raffle for JANM Membership – Make sure to participate in our activity raffle for a chance to win a free year of membership. Leave a comment answering the Festival Question on our YouTube videos to enter the raffle.

The Festival Questions can be found in the Natsumatsuri video descriptions or program content. All comments on any of these platforms must be posted by 5 p.m. (Pacific) on Sunday, Aug. 15. Limit one entry per household per video/program.

For members:

Virtual Members Only: “A Life in Pieces” Conversation (10-11 a.m.)

All JANM members are invited to an exclusive members only conversation with JANM’s VP of Exhibitions and Art Director Clement Hanami, writer/filmmaker Sharon Yamato, actor Kurt Kanazawa, and Emblematic’s founder and CEO Nonny de la Peña in the gallery before the museum opens to the public. They will discuss the virtual reality video created for “A Life in Pieces: The Diary and Letters of Stanley Hayami.”

This program is free for all members, but RSVPs are required in advance at the RSVP link, by email to, or phone at (213) 830-5646.

For more information or questions, contact

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