Japanese American National Museum Store Online

The award-winning Museum Store of the Japanese American National Museum features distinctive Asian American merchandise for all occasions and generations. Their unique product line represents the essence of the Japanese American experience, while also promoting an appreciation of America’s ethnic and cultural diversity. All proceeds from the Museum Store support Museum programs and exhibitions.

The articles in this series were originally written for the Japanese American National Museum’s online store [janmstore.com]  to give a deeper understanding of the authors, artists, and traditions featured in the store. 

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The Girl with Hair like the Sun: An interview with author, Claire Mix

Claire Mix will never forget the day she first learned of the harsh realities that Japanese Americans faced during World War II and the role that her mother played in that dark period of United States’ history.

Claire was exposed to this part of history by two people she held in the highest regard—her mother, Ruth Mix and actor, George Takei, best known for his role as Hikaru Sulu on the “Star Trek” series. At thirteen-years old, Claire—a science fiction fanatic and “huge Star Trek fan”—happened to have quite the crush on Mr. Sulu. So when her ...

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Kapoho: Memoir of a Modern Pompeii - Frances H. Kakugawa

Mount Vesuvius, Krakatoa, Mount St. Helens—these are the names that come to mind when most of us think of volcanoes. In her most recent book, Kapoho, Memoir of a Modern Pompeii, Frances Kakugawa makes readers outside of Hawaii aware of another volcano—Kilauea—and shares her recollections of Kapoho, Hawaii, the place of her birth and the town ultimately destroyed by Kilauea. Through her writing, Ms. Kakugawa succeeds in keeping alive the most important thing that could be salvaged from the destructive path of the volcano—cherished memories of Kapoho.

Kapoho, Memoir of a Modern Pompeii is a collection ...

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Author Dr. Cherstin M. Lyon: Honoring Footsteps in the Sands of Time

Gordon Hirabayashi patiently sat in a jail cell as military officials discussed what to do with him. He had refused to register for relocation to Tule Lake, and yet the military could not allow him to stay in Seattle. Hirabayashi suggested that the military forcibly remove him to the regional assembly center so that the military would be in compliance with the exclusion order and he did not have to betray his conscience by obeying a racially discriminatory law that was unconstitutional. He was surprised and a bit amused when they told him that they could not forcibly remove him ...

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Hapa-ly Ever After: An Interview with Jeff Chiba Stearns

Growing up in the predominantly white city of Kelowna, British Columbia, Jeff Chiba Stearns felt very aware of being different from most of the people around him. Born to a Sansei mother and “Euro-mutt” father (of English, Scottish, German, and Russian descent), he was no stranger to the “What are you?” question.

Over the years, Stearns continued to reflect on his cultural identity until eventually he began to illustrate his thoughts (using a process he calls “animation meditation”). The result, in 2005, was “What Are You Anyway?” an animated short about his process of coming to terms with being mixed ...

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Stories United: The Japanese American Journey and Maui Taiko

“As we share our culture and learn about others, we can choose to live harmoniously,” Kay Fukumoto of Maui Taiko shares her taiko philosophy. “We are all one people on one earth. Peace begins inside each of us. If we focus on it as an end goal, we can surely make progress to that end.”

Know where you come from. Appreciate your past. Respect it. Share it with others. These are the lessons most take away from Great Grandfather’s Drum, a documentary that continues to play a role in fixing the lack of Japanese American Hawaii history learned in ...

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