The Photographer for My Daughter’s Wedding

“Just photos,” as they say…  Photos of my beautiful daughter’s wedding a couple of weeks ago.

Well, with just a little writing, perhaps, with a smidgeon of our American history tossed in.

In my other blog posts, there has been mention of the “internment camps” in which one-half of my dad’s family was imprisoned in the US during WWII.

Internees were not allowed to bring in cameras amongst many other things deemed to be a threat to national or camp security – like knives, guns, tools…and cameras.

However, at one camp called “Manzanar” (where my Aunt Shiz and cousins were imprisoned), one brave soul braved the tight security measures and actually made his own camera…in secret.  He then took prohibited photographs during his interment.  His name was Toyo Miyatake…  (Note: there is a super documentary on Toyo Miyatake called “Toyo’s Camera“:  One contributor was George Takei who played “Sulu” on “Star Trek”.  Takei was also imprisoned during the war.)

Copyright Toyo Miyatake Studios

The actual camera he made is shown below; it is still in the possession of the Miyatake family:

Copyright Toyo Miyatake Studios

In what I believe is a Signal Corps official photograph, the Toyo Miyatake family is pictured in their Manzanar barracks:

Toyo Miyatake’s family in Manzanar

This is one of the more well-known photographs taken by Toyo Miyatake at Manzanar during WWII:

Copyright Toyo Miyatake Studios
Copyright Toyo Miyatake Studios


Jump forward to today.

Toyo Miyatake’s grandson is Alan Miyatake; my 11 year old son sneakily grabbed my EXPENSIVE DSLR and snapped this photo of Alan and I chatting at my daughter’s wedding.  The  gent on the left is Alan.  We are the same age……but I do look YOUNGER, of course.  Just kidding, Alan!

Alan Miyatake on the left
Alan Miyatake on the left

We’ve known each other for over five decades now; we attended the same church.  When we played B-ball in the church league, he played guard.  When he let loose a shot, his form reminded me of a graceful ballet.  He was good… and his photography was fortunately much better. (Smile)

He shot my weddings…both of them, unfortunately.  And there was no one else I was honored to have shooting my daughter’s.  Both of us were joking before the wedding that we were both extremely grateful for auto-focus…

The following proofs are Alan’s work where noted.

Thanks, Alan…but I still challenge you in sports photography! LOL


Copyright Toyo Miyatake Studios.  Isn’t my daughter just beautiful?  Takes after mom, I am told.
Copyright Toyo Miyatake Studios
Copyright Toyo Miyatake Studios
Copyright Toyo Miyatake Studios
Copyright Toyo Miyatake Studios


My four wonderful kids:

Copyright Toyo Miyatake Studios.  This would be the last photo of the four kids together before her marriage.  I was honored to have Alan take this portrait.
Copyright Toyo Miyatake Studios.  My oldest son Takeshi and my ex.
Copyright Toyo Miyatake Studios
Copyright Toyo Miyatake Studios.  Doesn’t she look gorgeous?


And now, some of my snapshots…  Gotta throw these in:


My son was the officiant (i.e., he married them off).  He got choked up a few times.  The bridesmaid on the far left is my cousin’s daughter, seven months pregnant.



Ever faithful and reliable Alan at work…
They make their entry as husband and wife
First dance…


James and my youngest girl Brooke on their way for a dance. It was (HOPEFULLY) her first one.
My littlest son’s (hopefully NOT his) first dance.
Breaking of the ceremonial cask of “osake” graciously provided by my new in-laws.
Remember Jake and Brady? Their parents, too…but Brooke was too embarrassed to dance…yet.
Jake lost! She was too embarrassed to dance. 🙂
My bud Don and his wife Marie. A guy couldn’t ask for a more loyal and faithful friend. Thanks, Cap.


Alan, great job once again.  I was honored to have you shoot my daughter’s wedding.

And congratulations, James and Robyn.  Love you both.

51 thoughts on “The Photographer for My Daughter’s Wedding”

  1. What a beautiful wedding and a wonderful day. Thank you so much for sharing it. I especially enjoy the way you explained the historical background and the secret camera–how fascinating!

  2. Fascinating back story! Now I have to go read about him. You teach us so much Koji.

    Your children are GORGEOUS! The wedding is beautiful and your friend (and you) did a wonderful job with the photos.

    I can’t help but notice the stunning smiles you all possess. And share. 🙂

    1. We all learn from each other… and it never ends. And thank you for your kind comments! As for the stunning smiles, Alan retouched my teeth big time. I have no teeth.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to visit! And yes, Alan ALWAYS did a great job… The groom’s parents are much more “Japanese” than I so the thanks for the kimono go to them!

      1. Regardless of the origin, it was a nice touch. I am so glad the US is a melting pot but I think it is important to retain all those positive things about your home culture. As someone who is as American as apple pie (aka everyone came from Europe over 200 yrs ago), I wish I had some family traditions special like that. Although I do love my Southern heritage and I won’t ever give that up!

    1. Thanks, Gar… and your family story is just as fun and historic…down to Omaha Beach and the Alaskan earthquake…and of course, you! Yes, I was blessed from knowing Alan. Good guy.

  3. Thank you for sharing more of your story, and yes, your daughter is exquisite. My, my, my… I’ll bet no one could take their eyes off of her.
    Husband seems so very happy. Makes me happy to see. LOVE.

    1. Thank you, seapunk2… My daughter really looked great… but I learned one thing about my daughter that afternoon… When her Maid of Honor did her toast, I found out my angel of a daughter…ditched school three times!!!!!

      The groom is a great guy – doesn’t smoke, drink and most importantly, doesn’t do drugs. Period. And he speaks J-talk so my mom and aunt can talk with him.

  4. Koji: As always, a joy & thanks you share your personal life with me. I am honored to peek into your life as we have reconnected. Your outlook on photography & friendship are commendable! See you soon!

    1. Likewise, Secret, your friendship is highly coveted. Without you and Mari Jo, I would not have been able to see so many of my old friends. Cigar time soon, old friend!

  5. Koji
    It has been my honor to know you all these years. Your friendship is and always be treasured. I always ask you, “when are you going to start taking photos professionally?”
    When we were at ELAC taking photography classes you were a great photographer then. Thanks for all the kind words, your family is beautiful, easy to photograph. The only ting thing I didn’t get in the photos was how cold it was that morning! Best wishes!

    1. Geez… ELAC! I don’t remember taking much there except that color developing class (which you were expert at already!). But YOU… YOU went on to Brook’s, right?! Awesome. I can’t tell the difference between shadow and black. Haha.

      I have never heard one bad thing coming from you… and I look forward to the portraits! Can you date it at the bottom somehow?

  6. Gorgeous pics my friend. You have a beautiful family and some wonderful friends. These things say much about a man as the inner person can’t be hidden from one who knows what to look for. I am honored to call you my friend. Thank you for sharing what had to be one of the proudest moments of your life sir.

    1. Thanks, Benjamin… Indeed, it WAS an unbelievable moment. Frankly, I never thought I’d be around to see this happy day happen. And friends? I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for friends. I cherish them greatly.

    1. Thank you for attending from frozen Montana! And your freshly baked breads would have been always welcomed at the tables…(but I don’t know about your “steaks”… 🙂 )

  7. Terrific article tonight, your daughter is very beautiful, the pictures are wonderful – especially the balcony one and the story of your friends grandfather is very interesting. I will look forward to reading more about him and his documentation of the camps. Blessings – Patty

  8. Lovely wedding photos Koji. You must be one proud father. Also, the photos on the internment camp are powerful. I found the shot of the boys, the barbwire, and the lookout/gun tower particularly moving.

    1. Thank you, Curt. I must admit time’s been a bit scarce for me with “year-end” and my own taxes (plus some “indulging”) so I’ve been unable to spend enough time on WordPress…and catch up on your wonderful trip…

      1. I know the feeling… between working on my book on Peace Corps, blogging, and keeping up with my friends on Word Press, I have serious questions about what being retired means.

    1. How sweet of you to visit once again, gpcox!! And you are right about looking back…

      I pray for you and your better half during this media-fueled hysteria. Just be sure you have necessary meds… Water from the tap is good!

      1. People are acting here like they have to board themselves up for hibernation. All stores are out of the staples, like bread, rice, noodles, baby diapers, can soup and canned vegetables. I can’t believe all this.
        Our county (the largest in FL), finally has its first 2 victims – 2 70-year old guys who just returned from a Nile River cruise!!

      2. The hysteria is akin to the 1938 broadcast of “War of the Worlds” by Orson Welles. Some people actually believed his theatrical performance and panicked.

      3. My dad told me he had heard the broadcast and it was mentioned more than once that it was fictional. He didn’t witness any hysteria, but heard about it.
        Now with so much media – people are scared to death, and actually many will have it and just think it’s a bad cold and it will go away.

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