Susan Chen

Susan Chen is an Ethnic Studies Ph.D. Candidate at the University of California, San Diego. Her research interests include Asian American history, postwar US history, cultural studies, and modern urban history. She is especially fascinated with studies of Asian Americans in contemporary media and popular culture. From 2003 to 2007, Chen worked at the Japanese American National Museum as curatorial assistant and then as museum manager.

Updated February 2015

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Japanese American National Museum Store Online

Oshogatsu Traditions in the United States

In the Western world, New Year’s Eve is a big day for parties to celebrate the end of a year and the fresh start of a new one. In Japan, the beginning of the New Year, or Oshogatsu, is when friends and family gather together for what is considered to be the most important holiday of the year. It is celebrated throughout the country and by Nikkei around the world with symbolic food, decorations, activities, and other traditions to wish for an auspicious year. In the United States, it is also a holiday whose celebration has melded Japanese and Americans traditions. Prior to 1873 when…

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Japanese American National Museum Magazine

Japanese American Gardeners: Their Stories and Their Landscapes

Few Japanese art forms have enjoyed as much popularity in the United States as the Japanese-style garden. First introduced to this country at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition, these gardens immediately captured the imagination of the American public. Displays of Japanese-style gardens and pavilions soon became a fixture at virtually all expositions and World’s Fairs, and they also proliferated in public parks, school grounds, business properties, and private estates of the wealthy. By 1920, many of today’s popular gardens had already been constructed. This included the …

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