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“True Gem” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Japanese American National Museum

Japanese American National Museum
369 East First Street, Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, CA 90012 (Central L.A)
213 625 0414
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Ranked #37 of 310 Attractions in Los Angeles
Type: Libraries, History Museums, Specialty Museums, Museums
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Museum dedicated to the history and culture of Japanese-Americans.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Top Contributor
54 reviews 54 reviews
14 attraction reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“True Gem”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 19, 2013

My family visited this museum which is located close to Japanese town in LA. The museum centers around the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII. The exhibits are creative, interesting, and thought provoking. Many explore issues relating to race and individual identity. We were fortunate enough to meet a gentleman who had been interned in a camp as a high school senior and then served in the Pacific during WWII. He provided us with insightful commentary that was one of the highlights of our trip.

Visited August 2013
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65 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
Rancho Palos Verdes, California
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
14 attraction reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Exploring downtown Los Angeles”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 30, 2013

This was our first visit to this museum. It was very informative. We all learned a lot about the treatment of Japanese in the US. It would have been better if the museum was more interactive. Loved the film previews!

Visited July 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
117 reviews 117 reviews
46 attraction reviews
Reviews in 53 cities Reviews in 53 cities
60 helpful votes 60 helpful votes
“Understated and effective portrayal of an often misunderstood minority”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2013

In today's multicultural America there are many museums that celebrate the travails and achievements of different ethnic groups, but few that do that as persuasively as this one. The emphasis here is on the experience of Japanese Americans who were displaced and interned in spartan concentration camps during World War II, but visitors also learn a great deal about the lives of early Japanese immigrants and the resurgence of Japanese-American culture after the war. There are familiar faces like those of now deceased U.S. Senator Danial Inouye and classical violinist Midori was well as others who were more self-effacing and whose stories seem all the fresher and more relevant because they are less well known. The museum presents the Japanese experience in linear fashion and incorporates fascinating artifacts including a transported and reassembled internment camp residence hut whose uncaulked timbers underscore the privations that were suffered in cold desert winters. The underlying message is quite sober, pointing as it does to America's willingness to dispense with some freedoms when others are threatened, and to the perils of scapegoating when times are tough. But there is an almost complete lack of special pleading; visitors are left to draw their own conclusions more often than told what to think. This is a model than many others might emulate. Even if you suspect the Japanese-American story is irrelevant to your life, you might be surprised at how it draws you in.

Visited April 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
20 attraction reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Great exhibits and lots of knowledgable docents”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 30, 2013

Have been here a number of times and always have a good visit. From the current exhibits to the ongoing exhibits, I always learn something -- especailly since there is always a docent to help. Many of the docents were incarcerated in the concentration camps during World War II and offer first hand commentary. Some of the docents served in the MIS or 442, the most decorated unit during WWII and are equally fascinating to talk to. Set in the middle of Little Tokyo, there is plenty to do in the area as well. Lots of programs to choose from, check their website to see what's on.

Visited May 2013
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Washington DC, District of Columbia
Top Contributor
154 reviews 154 reviews
89 attraction reviews
Reviews in 59 cities Reviews in 59 cities
67 helpful votes 67 helpful votes
“Loved this!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 16, 2013

This is an incredible museum! One of the best we have ever been to. Our favorite part of it was the section where they did a simulation of what the Japanese Americans had to live with during the war. There was so much to read and learn while we were there. Definitely required another visit but we never got to it while we lived there. This is a must see!

Visited June 2012
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