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Joy Kogawa

            The poem "Day of the Bride- was written by Joy Kogawa, who is an award-winning Japanese Canadian author who often integrates ideas of culture and identity into her writing. The poem is heavily laden with historical Japanese imagery, culture and tradition. The author makes several references to ethnic fixtures such as origami, traditional cuisine and Japanese dress. The main theme of the poem is the contrast between these preceding images and customs, the world we are living in today, and the dramatic passage between the two. .
             Joy Kogawa is known not only for her writing but also for her involvement with Japanese-Canadian activism groups. She was born in Vancouver in 1935. Joy and her family were sent to an internment camp by the Canadian government in 1941, where they spent several years of manual labor. In the late 1940's she began her secondary education, which included study several universities. Much of Joy's material centers on her heritage and life history, individual identity and cultural diversity. Joy has now written a number of novels, poems and essays - one of which, titled Obasan, won multiple prestigious awards. .
             "The day of the Bride dawns- (1) directly into references to traditional Japanese customs. The first few lines act as the dressing room; the bride emerges prepared for her day. The line "Through layers of white plaster skin- (2) refers to one of the customary practices of the Japanese wedding ceremony. The bride-to-be often would have been painted white from head to toe at the very beginning of her day as a visual representation of her pure status. Already the author has begun to suggest the role of presentation and fazade in the formal procedure of marriage. Prepared for her would be several formal kimonos and dresses. Her wedding attire, to be changed several times throughout the ceremony, includes a stark white kimono in which she presents herself metaphorically "White and tight as a folded paper message.

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