Los Angeles, CA 90012
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We share the story of Japanese Americans because we honor our nations diversity. We believe in the importance of remembering our history to better guard against the prejudice that threatens liberty and equality in a democratic society. We strive as a world-class museum to provide a voice for Japanese Americans and a forum that enables all people to explore their own heritage and culture.
We promote continual exploration of the meaning and value of ethnicity in our country through programs that preserve individual dignity, strengthen our communities, and increase respect among all people. We believe that our work will transform lives, create a more just America and, ultimately, a better world.
Nisei Week Festival Information: See Nisei Week Tips Page
Natsumatsuri is held in conjunction with Nisei Week Festival, Little Tokyo's biggest annual event. Make your plans early!
History of the Japanese American National Museum
The mission of the Japanese American National Museum is to promote understanding and appreciation of Americas ethnic and cultural diversity by sharing the Japanese American experience.
The Japanese American National Museum is the first museum in the United States dedicated to sharing the experience of Americans of Japanese ancestry. Through its comprehensive collection of Japanese American objects, images and documents, as well as multi-faceted exhibitions, educational programs, documentaries and publications, the National Museum shares the Japanese American story with a national and international audience.
The National Museum was established in Los Angeles to preserve the rich heritage and cultural identity of Japanese Americans. In 1982, businessmen in L.A.s Little Tokyo began exploring the concept, as did a separate group of highly decorated World War II veterans. A representative from the financial group proposed incorporating a museum into a planned Little Tokyo residential complex, while veterans of the famed 442 nd Regimental Combat Team sponsored a “Japanese American Soldier exhibition at the Los Angeles Country Museum of Natural History.
The two groups soon joined forces, and in 1985 the Japanese American National Museum was incorporated as a private, nonprofit institution. Over the next several years, volunteers sought backing from community groups. In 1985, California State Senator Art Torres introduced a funding bill that acknowledged the major contributions Japanese Americans have made to the social, cultural and economic spheres of California, and the state legislature soon appropriated $750,000 toward the Museum on the condition that Los Angeles provide matching funds. At the urging of the volunteer corps, the City of Los Angeles granted a $1 million match the following year.
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