Little Tokyo Design Week Gets ULTRA Expo Installation at Japanese American National Museum July 14-17

Little Tokyo Design Week Gets "ULTRA Expo" Installation at Japanese American National Museum July 14-17 "Year of the Rabbit: Stan Sakai's Usagi Yojimbo" Also On View at JANM

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (June 22, 2011) ­ Explore the Little Tokyo Design Week (LTDW) exhibit Ultra Expo at the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) and also visit the National Museum's latest exhibition, Year of the Rabbit: Stan Sakai's Usagi Yojimbo, during Little Tokyo Design Week from July 14 to July 17.

Ultra Expo re-creates the Osaka Exposition of 1970 and seeks to go beyond conventional exhibition formats to create an unorthodox way of displaying historical material with emphasis on contemporary currency rather than nostalgic exactitude‹with particular emphasis on the use of film, video, and photography. The exhibit is curated by Sylvia Lavin, Director of Critical Studies and MA/Ph.D Programs and Professor of Architectural History and Theory in the Department of Architecture and Urban Design at UCLA.

The Osaka Exposition of 1970 was the first world exposition held in Japan --one of the best attended expositions in history-- and was a veritable explosion of East and West high art, popular culture, and new technology. Added to this was a spirit of research and development supported by international corporations, which gave birth to the theme of "Progress and Harmony for Mankind."

In addition, JANM will be housing several shipping container galleries in their public plaza (other public plaza locations including the MOCA and JACCC Plazas will also host other container exhibits) that will be transformed by teams of designers, educators, architects, and artists based both in Tokyo and Los Angeles into small pop-up galleries for the duration of LTDW. Designers and artists will also be on-site to interact with the public and discuss their individual installations.

"We are extremely proud to be working with the Japanese American National Museum," states Hitoshi Abe (Principal, Atelier Hitoshi Abe) LTDW Chair and Director for the UCLA Paul I. and Hisako Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies and the UCLA Department of Architecture and Urban Design. "The Ultra Expo exhibit is pivotal in not just Japanese culture and history but also in world history. The works of Sakai not only span a quarter of a century but is also pivotal in the assimilation and Americanization of Japanese culture into the American mainstream Pop Culture movement."

Added JANM President & CEO Akemi Kikumura Yano, "The Japanese American National Museum salutes Little Tokyo Design Week, especially Hitoshi Abe, for the boldness of its vision. To bring together so many groups and organizations with the thought of organizing an event that draws people to Little Tokyo and reflects the creativity of a vast array of artists, designers and innovators is remarkable."

Also on view will be the celebrated works of cartoonist Stan Sakai, whose creation of his iconic comic book hero, Usagi Yojimbo, will be the focus of a retrospective exhibition, Year of the Rabbit: Stan Sakai¹s Usagi Yojimbo. For the past 27 years, Sakai has written and drawn his comic book series featuring his samurai rabbit whose adventures in the late 16th and early 17th Centuries of feudal Japan are authentically researched. The popularity of Usagi Yojimbo is reflected in the fact that the comic book is translated into a dozen different languages. The exhibition includes original drawings and paintings that bring to life the character Usagi Yojimbo, who Sakai based on the historic Japanese warrior, Miyamoto Musashi. It includes a new documentary, created by the JANM's Watase Media Arts Center, about Stan Sakai and his participation at Comic Con.

A sansei (third generation Japanese American), Sakai was born in Japan and raised in Hawaii from the age of two. He received a Fine Arts degree from the University of Hawaii and did further studies at the Art Center College of Design. This exhibition, thanks to its Premier Sponsor Daruma, runs from July 9 through October 30. More information can be found at and .

In conjunction with this exhibition, a gathering of artists will work their creative magic on Frank Kozik¹s "Happy Labbit" toy. A special surprise work by Frank Kozik, creator of the "Happy Labbit," will be part of the show as will a vinyl creation by Stan Sakai. These custom toys will be sold in the Museum Store.

"Ultra Expo" and "Year of the Rabbit: Stan Sakai's Usagi Yojimbo" Japanese American National Museum (JANM) 100 North Central Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90012

"Ultra Expo" Event Dates and Times: Wednesday; July 13, 2011; 11:00 am ­ 5:00 pm Thursday; July 14, 2011; noon ­ 8:00 pm Friday; July 15, 2011: 11:00 am ­ 8:30 pm Saturday; July 16, 2011; 11:00 am ­ 5:00 pm Sunday; July 17, 2011; 11:00 am ­ 5:00 pm

"Pop-Up" Shipping Container Galleries Locations: JACCC, JANM, and MOCA Plazas Wednesday; July 13, 2011; 4:00 pm ­ 10:00 pm Thursday; July 14, 2011; 4:00 pm ­ 11:00 pm Friday; July 15, 2011: 4:00 pm ­ midnight Saturday; July 16, 2011; 11:00 am ­ midnight Sunday; July 17, 2011; 11:00 am ­ 7:00 pm

Year of the Rabbit: Stan Sakai's Usagi Yojimbo will be on view at the Japanese American National Museum through October 30, 2011 during normal Museum hours (Tuesday through Sunday, 11:00 am ­ 5:00 pm; Thursday, noon ­ 8:00 pm). The Year of the Labbit Custom Show will be on display through September 11, 2011.

Little Tokyo Design Week is currently seeking sponsorship for the July 2011 festival. This event offers sponsors and individuals a unique opportunity for brand exposure and positioning, including, but not limited to, PR, logo placement in online and print materials, and live event integration. For in-kind, media, and general sponsorship inquiries, please contact [email protected]

About Little Tokyo Design Week: Future City (LTDW) Commencing July 14-17, 2011, Little Tokyo Design Week: Future City (LTDW) celebrates the power and energy of cutting edge design and technology emerging from Japan and its intersection with current trends materializing in Los Angeles. LTDW will present a series of programs that integrate Little Tokyo's Big Three cultural institutions (Japanese American National Museum (JANM), Japanese American Cultural and Community Center (JACCC), and The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, community partners, retailers, and restaurants and will engage local and international designers, artists, architects, filmmakers, corporations, and students from the Southern California region to explore possible scenarios for a "New Urban Lifestyle." Produced in collaboration with Community Arts Resources (CARS). More information can be found at .

About Japanese American National Museum (JANM) The Japanese American National Museum is dedicated to fostering greater understanding and appreciation for America's ethnic and cultural diversity by preserving and telling the stories of Americans of Japanese ancestry. Since its incorporation in 1985, the National Museum has grown into an internationally recognized institution, presenting award-winning exhibitions, groundbreaking traveling exhibits, educational public programs, innovative video documentaries and cutting-edge curriculum guides. For more information, go to .

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