The Wedding Dress

Aug 27, 2012

Photo of Manzanar Camp courtesy of the National Park Service

It began with Chiyomi falling in love with Kaz Ogawa.

The time was 1944; the United States was at war.

The location of their wedding: Manzanar, one of the 10 internment camps for Japanese-Americans and Japanese immigrants during World War II.

Chiyomi’s aunt Nui was a professional seamstress. She designed and made Chiyomi’s wedding dress. Eventually, five other women would wear this dress, taking on a life of it’s own, weaving through the lives of these young women who made their homes and raised their families right here in Pasadena.

Chiyomi’s wedding dress first came to the public’s attention at this year’s Cherry Blossom Festival of Southern California which “celebrates the history and culture of Americans of Japanese descent and the culture of Japan through the beauty of the cherry blossoms.” On display were portraits of all the women by photographer Toyo Miyatake.

Next fall, the story of Chiyomi’s wedding dress will continue with “I Do, I Do – Pasadena Ties the Knot” at the Pasadena Museum of History. To keep updated on the journey of the wedding dress, go to their Facebook page.

Photo by Toyo Miyatake

Chiyomi and her granddaughter Michelle; photo by Alan Miyatake



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