The largest U.S. museum dedicated to the Japanese experience in this country, occupying a gracefully modern pavilion by acclaimed architect Gyo Obata, displays the exquisite care and precision of a Japanese tea ceremony in both the building’s design and the exhibits within. Even the display of Yakuza tattoos, in a 2014 exhibition on the ancient origins of Japanese tattooing, is beautiful. Much of the permanent collection focuses on the World War II relocation camps, enhanced by docents’ stories of their own internment in those camps. Recent exhibitions have also embraced a lighter side of social consciousness, unmasking Asian stereotypes in post-war U.S. comics and hailing the Dodgers’ (both Brooklyn and L.A.) contribution to civil rights by their ethnic diversity from early days. The museum store’s well-chosen books, stationery, origami kits, and tea accessories make delightful gifts.
- Frommer's Staff