LAS VEGAS – DISCOVERY Children’s Museum will unveil their newest touring exhibit, Hello from Japan!, on Saturday, Sept. 16. The exhibit will educate and entertain museum guests on how modern attitudes and traditional Japanese cultural values coexist. The exhibit runs through January 31, 2018.
Contemporary Japanese culture, with its unique and progressive youth-inspired aesthetic, exists coincidentally with some of the richest heritage and history in the world in a country where the ancestral past guides the direction of its future – a culture that envelops the evolving country even today. Children and families visiting Hello from Japan! will have fun learning about modern life in Japan in a playfully immersive environment that includes everything from a kawaii streetscape to a peaceful Shinto shrine park.
“Part of DISCOVERY Children’s Museum’s mission is to provide a vibrant and engaging experience through exhibits and programs that encourage a love of lifelong learning,” said Lisa McAnallen, vice president of DISCOVERY Children’s Museum. “In a city as culturally diverse as Las Vegas, it is important for us to bring exhibits that offer families a chance to grow together and individuals the opportunity to learn on their own. Not only does Hello from Japan! elicit active participation and engagement with the exhibit, it urges its visitors to appreciate culture and to seek out their own learning experiences. We are really looking forward to sharing this exhibit with the community.”
Based upon the colorful and bustling streets in the modern Harajuku district, Kawaii Central, explores contemporary Japanese culture by evoking the friendly feel of Japanese kawaii, an aesthetic and sensibility which emerged in the 1970s among Japanese school children and has now permeated cultures worldwide. Kids can sing karaoke, smile for a photo booth camera, serve up traditional Japanese meals and design mascots for their families.
“Kawaii” translates roughly to “lovable,” “cute” or “adorable,” and has become a prominent aesthetic in modern Japanese culture. Originally from the word “kao hayushi” that translates to “one’s face is aglow,” kawaii visuals can be seen everywhere from children’s cartoons to traffic signs and luggage. Examples may include Pokémon, Hello Kitty or any number of cuddly characterizations.
A bridge at the end of the streetscape leads from the contemporary urban setting into a more tranquil Shinto shrine park environment. The park explores the traditional, nature-based practices and beliefs of Shinto, an indigenous Japanese religion. The Shinto area invites guests to build bridges, crawl through a forest, encounter kami spirits and make a wish at a wishing tree – the centerpiece of the exhibit – all while learning about and embracing ancient Japanese culture. The exhibit encourages children to appreciate their own local parks and natural surroundings.
Hello from Japan! was developed for the Children’s Museum of Manhattan and funded by The Freeman Foundation. For more information about Hello from Japan!, or other opportunities to explore DISCOVERY Children’s Museum, visit https://www.discoverykidslv.org/, or follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About DISCOVERY Children’s Museum
Considered Nevada’s most popular museum, DISCOVERY Children's Museum at the Donald W. Reynolds Discovery Center has seen more than one million visitors since opening its doors in March 2013 as a private, nonprofit educational institution. Las Vegas’ only children’s museum addresses its core educational areas of science and nature, art and culture and early childhood development with 26,000 square feet of interactive hands-on exhibits. The 3-story museum is complete with nine interactive exhibition galleries featuring traveling exhibitions, daily programs, demonstrations and activities and collaborative cultural programming for all occasions.