The Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo was the site of a cultural exchange by the Japan Initiative and Black LA on March 15.
Ann Burroughs, President and CEO, and Krystin Hayashi, Ph.D., Head of Collections at JANM, hosted Japanese Consul General Akira Muto and consulate staff, members of the Japanese business community, CEO of the non-profit organization Little Tokyo and black United Methodist clergy in an opening luncheon.
Hayashi and Clement Hanami, Director of Programs, have conducted tours of the ongoing exhibit “Common Ground: The Heart of Community,” which chronicles Japanese American history from the late 1800s to WWII incarceration. World War, post-war resettlement and reparation movement. .
They were also guided through a tour of the recently opened exhibition “Sutra and Bible: Faith and the Japanese American WW II Incarceration” by Duncan Ryuken Williams, Professor of Religion and East Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Southern California. Williams is a Soto Zen Buddhist scholar, writer, and priest who also serves as director of the USC Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture.
After a tour of the exhibits, the group engaged in a dialogue focused on the relevance of the JANM exhibits and the current cross-cultural dynamics in the Los Angeles area. Remarks were delivered by Consul General Muto, Dr. Curtiss Takada Rooks of Loyola Marymount University, and Reverend Mark M. Nakagawa, Superintendent of the Western District of The United Methodist Church.
The Japan and Black LA initiative was launched in October 2020 as a partnership between the Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles and the black clergy of The United Methodist Church in the Los Angeles area. Its mission is to foster relationships and deepen understanding between the Black, Japanese and Japanese American communities.