Opening Celebration for Five Friends at National Museum of Play June 18

National Museum of Play News Release
One Manhattan Square Rochester, NY 14607 585-263-2700

May 20, 2011

For Immediate Release

Contact: Susan Trien, 585-410-6359,
Shane Rhinewald, 585-410-6365,

Opening Day Celebration for Five Friends from Japan
at National Museum of Play Saturday, June 18

Enjoy a day of Japanese culture at the Opening Celebration for Five Friends from Japan: Children in Japan Today at The Strong’s National Museum of Play. Sample Japanese taiko drumming, anime drawing, aikido martial arts, and more on Saturday, June 18 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

On Saturday’s schedule:

11 a.m. and 1 p.m.: Watch and learn Japanese aikido, a non-aggressive martial art, demonstrated by the Rochester Phoenix Aikido & Fitness Club. The Japanese word aikido is written with three characters, which translate as "the way of spiritual harmony.” According to the club, “Avoidance of violence is at the heart of aikido. Children learn not how to fight, but how to cooperate; how to resolve conflict in a positive way; how to make friends and avoid making enemies. Children learn self-defense, but more importantly they learn self-confidence and self-respect.”

Noon and 2 p.m.: Enjoy the powerful sounds of Japanese taiko drumming at performances by TAIKOnnection. Taiko literally means “big drum.” The group is the brainchild of Masanori Seto, an entomology professor at Cornell University, who came to the United States to pursue his Ph.D. in 2006 and has continued his lifelong passion for taiko drumming. (Photo courtesy TAIKOnnection) 

11 a.m.–4 p.m.: Visit the craft tables and make a friendship bracelet.

1–4 p.m.: Learn to draw popular Japanese anime characters, such as Pickachu, with local artist Ken Wheaton. Wheaton has inked stories in Bongo’s Bart Simpson Comics, Simpsons Winter Wing Ding, Bart Simpson’s Treehouse of Horror, and Radioactive Man and was also a contributing inker to the Official Adaptation of Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol.

Guests can also enjoy a variety of engaging Japanese-inspired family activities within the Five Friends exhibit. Create origami, charms, and Sudoku puzzles at the craft tables; sample Japanese-inspired toys, building materials, and games in the play area; and thumb through Japanese books and comics (manga) at the book nook. Challenge yourself to the popular video game Katamari Forever.

Explore the Five Friends from Japan exhibit where you can experience childhood in Japan through the eyes of five children: Step inside a typical Japanese classroom, dress up in traditional Japanese fashions in Sakiko’s bedroom, experiment with Japanese calligraphy in Ken’s Tatami Room, fill up on Japanese foods and eating habits in Aisa’s Kitchen and Tofu Shop, and practice aikido moves in Yusuke’s Yard.

The recent disasters in Japan have severely affected the lives of all Japanese, old and young. The Strong invites visitors to the Five Friends from Japan exhibit to compose messages of support and sympathy that The Strong will send to the City of Rochester’s sister city of Hamamatsu, Japan. Those interested in supporting the relief effort financially can contribute at

Five Friends from Japan: Children in Japan Today remains on view at the National Museum of Play through Sunday, September 11, 2011.

Created by The Children’s Museum of Boston and Capital Children’s Museum. Five Friends is part of the Asian Exhibit Initiative, funded by the Freeman Foundation and administered by the Association of Children’s Museums. 

For full press kit with downloadable images:



Museum Hours: Monday–Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.

 Admission Fees: General Admission (does not include admission to Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden®): Adults $12; Seniors $11; Children (2–15) $10; Children younger than two free; museum members free.

 Admission to Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden®: General Admission fee plus $2 for members, $4 for nonmembers; Children under 2 free. Entry is by timed ticket only. Please call 585-263-2700 to reserve and purchase tickets.

Parking:  Free parking is available at the museum for all guests on a first-come, first-served basis. Please note that, on high visitation days, the museum lot may reach capacity early in the day. If space is not available on site at the time of your visit, additional parking is available at neighboring municipal garages for a fee. The Strong is not responsible for fees incurred at off-site locations.