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July 07, 2007


My grandma just died. She was 94-years-old and her name was Chieko Koyama. She was born in Wakayama Prefecture in Japan (Near Nara). She married my grandpa (a fisherman) in an arranged marriage and moved to Canada. They had 4 kids. After grandpa died (about 5 years ago), grandma told me all about the internment and gave me a camera - a 1940 Kodak Six-16 Junior. During the war she refused to give up her camera despite the fact that the law called on the Japanese to turn over their potential spy equipment. It wasn't that she was a rebel, or that she'd planned to document the war, it was just that the camera had cost her $12, was brand new, and she wanted photos of her kids. It's strange for someone as blasphemous as myself to make an old broken camera a totem for my grandparents.


I doubt you know who she is. I'd never heard of her before, but I just saw her book and needed to know more about it. Michelle Malkin, Asian-American US conservative pundit, wrote the book, "In Defense of Internment: The Case for "Racial Profiling in World War II and the War on Terror". Whoa. I haven't read the book. I probably won't read the book, and quite frankly, I REALLY feel sorry for her grandma.

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