Some 6,000 visitors scurried to the Japanese American National Museum on Sunday for the 2023 Oshogatsu Family Festival.
So popular was the event that at times, wait times approached an hour or more, and admission was briefly halted due to fire safety regulations.
“It was wonderful to see thousands of people celebrate the Year of the Rabbit with us,” said Ann Burroughs, president and CEO.
Above: In keeping with the theme, the busiest locations inside the museum were storytime groups and the crafting tables, where young visitors created their own bunny-ear hats, constructed paper carrots, and even learned how to fashion origami rabbits.
JANM volunteer June Aochi Berk helps kids learn the folding steps.
A full slate of attractions was held in the museum’s outdoor stage and courtyard, including music and taiko performances, improv comedy from Cold Tofu, mochi pounding and ceremonial calligraphy commemorating the new year.
Cold Tofu acted out fairy tales like “Cinderella” in a matter of seconds.
Under the guidance of JANM volunteers Hal Keimi and Carol Osa Okuda (above), kids learned the basics of taiko drumming (below).
“This is a great chance to help teach kids different cultures, since we can’t travel as much. I’m so happy they can learn Japanese American history in a fun way,” said Sundie Zin, who came from Irvine for the festival.
Kuniharu Yoshida gives a dynamic calligraphy demonstration wearing a traditional rabbit mask.
Youngsters watch intently as candyman Shan Ichiyanagi sculpts edible zodiac animals.
JANM volunteer Tomi Yoshikawa assists kids in spinning a wheel for prizes.
Plenty of kids eagerly took part in a history scavenger hunt through JANM’s exhibits.
Photos by Mikey Hirano Culross, Ellen Endo, Tomoko Nagai and J.K. Yamamoto