Visible & Invisible: A Hapa Japanese American History

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© Courtesy of Japanese American National Museum
Visible & Invisible: A Hapa Japanese American History

369 East First Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
April 7th, 2013 - August 25th, 2013
Opening: April 6th, 2013 7:30 PM - 9:30 PM

downtown/east la
(213) 625 0414
Tue-Wed, Fri-Sun 11-5; Thu 12-8; Closed Mondays, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day


Los Angeles, CA - The Japanese American National Museum, in collaboration with the USC Hapa Japan Database Project, is set to open its next exhibition, Visible & Invisible: A Hapa Japanese American History, Sunday, April 7 through Sunday, August 25, 2013. Through photos, historical artifacts, multimedia images, and interactive components, Visible & Invisible explores the diverse and complex history of the mixed-roots and mixed-race Japanese American experience. A free Opening Night party is planned for Saturday, April 6 from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. where visitors can preview this unique perspective on mixed-race within the Japanese American community. Visible & Invisible is preceded by the five-day Hapa Japan Festival, a free festival featuring hapa musicians and artists, a comedy night, readings by award-winning authors, film screenings of leading documentaries, and a two-day academic conference at USC. The Festival runs from April 2 through April 6. For more information on the Festival schedule and featured programs, visit

About the Exhibition
The 2010 U.S. Census revealed that a growing number of individuals identified themselves as “multiracial” and, it is anticipated, that by the next census count, a majority of Japanese Americans will be multiracial. Visible & Invisible reveals the long “mixed” history within the Japanese American community including the history of racial segregation and anti-miscegenation laws that prohibited, and even criminalized marriages, between White and non-White individuals. Today, the Japanese American community continues to explore questions of belonging and identity as Hapa Japanese Americans expand notions of family and community. Visible & Invisible addresses these important questions by understanding the history of the Hapa Japanese American experience and it challenges the community to consider the possibilities for future generations.

The exhibition’s Co-curators are: Cindy Nakashima, author of The Sum of Our Parts: Mixed-Heritage Asian Americans; Lily Anne Yumi Welty, UCLA Institute of American Cultures, Postdoctoral Fellow, UCLA Asian American Studies Center, and Ph.D., UC Santa Barbara; and, Duncan Williams, USC Professor and Director of the USC Center for Japanese Religions and Culture, Founder, Hapa Japan Database Project, former Director, UC Berkeley Center for Japanese Studies and Ph.D., Harvard University.

In conjunction with Visible & Invisible, JANM will present two public programs relating to the Hapa experience. On Friday, April 5 at 7:30 p.m., a film screening of Hafu: The Mixed Race Experience of Japan , will feature the experience of five “hafu” individuals in modern day Japan. The second program, Hapa Hoops: Japanese American Basketball and Community with Rex Walters, on Saturday, June 22 at 2 p.m., will explore the experiences of Hapa in the Japanese American basketball leagues. Hapa Hoops includes a screening of Crossover, a basketball documentary produced by the National Museum’s Frank H. Watase Media Arts Center, and will be followed by a conversation with Rex Walters, a veteran player of the Japanese American leagues and the NBA. Visit, or call 213.625.0414, for more information.

About the USC Hapa Japan Database Project
The USC Hapa Japan Database Project is a forum for connecting mixed-race and mixed-roots Japanese people. The Project sponsors a website with social networking, genealogical, and educational features. The Project also hosts a Festival every other year that celebrates this community through concerts, exhibits, comedy nights, film screenings, and academic conferences. Hapa Japan I took place in April 2011 in the San Francisco Bay Area and Hapa Japan 2013 runs from April 2-6, 2013 in Los Angeles. For information, contact Duncan Ryuken Williams, Project Director, at