Yut: A Classic Korean Game

October 3, 2013

yut setWho doesn’t love games? At both Fusion Fridays and our recent Free Family Festival, we had the Korean game of yut available to play. Similar to classic American board games like Sorry!, yut uses a six-by-six space square board with shortcuts through the middle and four sticks instead of dice. Using several markers (called mal, or “horse”), players throw the sticks onto the playing table and move around the board. The sticks are curved on one side and flat on the other, creating five different possible landing combinations that tell the player how many spaces to move. For example, if two sticks land round side up and two round side down, the player can advance two spaces. Because the rules are relatively simple and the materials easily made, this game has thrived for centuries in Korea.

Want to try yut for yourself? Come to this Saturday’s Silk Road Storytime where you’ll hear Korean stories, learn to play yut, and make a set of your own! If you can’t make it, just print out the board and rule sheet below (click to enlarge) and grab some pennies and popsicle sticks– it’s as easy as coloring one side of each stick.

yut rules

yut board


Four Ways To Keep The Kids Busy This Summer

May 30, 2013

School’s out soon, and you know what that means– time to find fun things to do! Here at Pacific Asia Museum, we’re happy to help with these fun activities throughout the summer. And best of all, many of these are free!

Silk Road Storytime

Silk Road Storytime
Held on the first Saturday of every month, Silk Road Storytime is a free and fun way to learn about cultures around the world. Our veteran storyteller Sunny Stevenson shares tales with different themes every month, followed by a craft and snacks. Over the summer, enjoy Animal Fables, Chinese Fairytales, Legends from Japan and more! Check our website for each month’s theme.

Free Family Festival

Free Fourth Fridays
Every fourth Friday of the month, Pacific Asia Museum opens its doors to the community for free! Explore our galleries and exhibitions, enjoy the tranquil Chinese courtyard garden, and take a docent-led tour. It’s the perfect way to spend a summer afternoon!


Silk Road

Journeys: The Silk Road
This interactive family-friendly gallery is where visitors can explore the legendary trade route that linked Europe and Asia for more than a thousand years. With hands-on activities and traditional costumes, kids and adults alike can immerse themselves in Asian history in fun new ways. As a permanent gallery, it’s always available for families to enjoy.

Korean Dancer

Free Family Festival
Even though many students are going back to school early this year, our Free Family Festival on September 15 is a great opportunity to enjoy the last days of summer. This festival celebrates the arts and culture of Korea with performances, crafts, demonstrations and more! Free and open to the public.

Children’s Day in Japan

May 2, 2013
Koinobori (carp windsock)

Source: Raneko on Flickr.

Children’s Day in Japan is celebrated every year on May 5. Previously known as Tango no Sekku and celebrating male children (the celebration for girls was May 3, called Hinamatsuri), the holiday was changed to celebrate all children and renamed Komodo no Hi in 1948, though the traditions associated with the former Boy’s Day remain. Before Japan switched to the Gregorian calendar that same year, Tango no Sekku was celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, usually right around the summer solstice. This lunar date is also celebrated in other Asian cultures, notably Dragon Boat Festival (duanwu) in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, the Tet Festival in Vietnam and the Dano Festival in Korea, but with very different origins and customs. The fifth lunar month is also traditionally celebrated as a month of purification, and this holiday adds to that spirit as families wish for their children to grow up strong and successful.

Carp Painting

Carp, Japan, Meiji period (1868-1912 AD), Ink on silk, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Donald F. Lomas, 1982.145.1

One of the most common sights on Children’s Day is rooted in its origins as Boy’s Day: the koinobori, or carp windsock, as seen at top. Families will display one for each family member: black for the father, red for the mother, and others (usually green or blue) for each child. The carp has long been a symbol for strength and fortitude– the fish is so strong and powerful that it swims upstream. Traditionally, families hoped for the same qualities in their sons. The carp windsocks blowing in the wind are meant to recall them swimming strongly through the waters. The symbol of the carp is also often seen in classical Japanese painting, as seen in this Meiji-era work from the Pacific Asia Museum collection.

Another common symbol of strength is the Kintaro figure, who we’ve written about before. Kintaro embodies both boyish youth and enormous strength, and has popularly been represented wrestling with or riding on a giant carp.

Gajin Fujita, Golden Boy after Kunyoshi

Gajin Fujita (b.1972), Golden Boy After Kuniyoshi 2011, Gold leaf, platinum leaf, and silver leaf with spray paint and paint markers on wood panel, 24 x 16 in. (50.8 x 40.6 cm.), Collection of Jim Kenyon, Image courtesy of L.A. Louver, Venice, CA, © Gajin Fujita

Here at Pacific Asia Museum, we like to celebrate children too! On Sunday, May 12 from 12-4 p.m., we’re holding a Free Family Festival inspired by the exhibition The Garden in Asia. This Mother’s Day afternoon of crafts, performances and more is a great (free!) way to spend time with the family. You’ll even have a chance to make a koinobori for yourself! See the full schedule of events here. ~CM

The Jiangsu Intangible Heritage Troupe Arrives!

January 31, 2013

Today we welcomed the delegation of the Jiangsu Intangible Heritage Troupe, who have come all the way from China to celebrate the Lunar New Year with us. As a prelude to Saturday’s Lunar New Year Festival, the artists and performers gave our visitors a sneak peek of their talents.

Xiao Hong Hua (“Little Red Flower”) Arts Troupe is a group of children who study at one of China’s first performing arts schools. They attend regular classes in the morning and attend performance classes in the afternoon. In addition, six renowned artists from Jiangsu are experts in their crafts, which range from sugar art to papercutting to Chinese knotting. Check out the slideshow below for a sampling of their work!

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The Jiangsu Intangible Heritage Troupe will be at Pacific Asia Museum tomorrow, Friday February 1 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Little Red Flower troupe will perform in the auditorium at 11 a.m. And if you miss them tomorrow, make sure you come to our Lunar New Year Festival on Saturday, February 2! ~CM

Behind the Scenes: Lunar New Year Festival

January 25, 2011

In preparation for all the fun crafts, activities and performances we have planned for the Lunar New Year Festival, one of our favorites will be for the kids (and the adults of course) to decorate a large paper-mache rabbit since this is the year of the Rabbit. We turned to our favorite party store in Pasadena – Vanny’s, to construct for us a life size rabbit-shaped piñata. They had previously done the same for our Ganesha festival with a wonderful Ganesha that the kids decorated with flowers, beads and paint. Below is a before all-cardboard image of our Rabbit, and an after image where we spray painted him in gold. Notice the little while bunny tail left to be decorated by the kids with little cotton balls!