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Beyond Manzanar:
Artists, Acknowledgements and Media Credits


Beyond Manzanar: Artists' Bios


Tamiko Thiel
is an American visual artist of Japanese German heritage. She combines her backgrounds in engineering and art to explore technology as a vehicle for social and cultural expression.

Links to: Bio (from 2007)

Email address

Zara Houshmand
is an Iranian American writer whose work has focused on opening borders between different cultures, and includes poetry, memoir, and literary translation as well as theatre and new media arts.

Links to: Bio (from 2007)
Email address


Many artists contributed their work and their time to Beyond Manzanar. When available, we have listed their websites here in the hope that you will take some time to see what they really do.

Yasushi Yoshida is a composer living in Osaka, Japan. He has written the title music for numerous television shows including "Walk Alone in Arktos", and most recently "Mr. Hyohichi Kohno Walked to the North Pole". He did the sound design for Beyond Manzanar while studying computer augmented music performance and composition at IAMAS.

Shiro Yamamoto teaches interface and exhibition design at IAMAS. He developed the navigation interface for Beyond Manzanar .

Reverend Nobuyuki Tanahashi is an ordained Shinto priest. He is studying new media art at IAMAS in order to create new rituals in the spirit of Shinto. He has transformed Zara's closing resolution poem into a norito prayer recitation in English for the spirits of Manzanar. He was our invaluable consultant on Japanese spiritual and cultural issues for the project.

Midori Kono Thiel is a prize-winning Japanese calligraphy artist and a Japanese traditional arts expert. She performed the piece "Sumiyoshi" on the koto and created the Japanese calligraphy for the fence poems.

Chao Ma is a painter and animation artist who has exhibited his work extensively in China and Japan. He created the water animations in Persian miniature style for the Persian garden while studying animation at IAMAS.

Mary Kagemura Nomura was the "Songbird of Manzanar." Two songs of hers can be heard coming from within the barracks. The texts were written by her future husband Shi Nomura while she had already left but he was still at Manzanar. She set the poems to music, sung and recorded them and mailed the record back to him in camp. (Usage of songs courtesy of County of Inyo, Eastern California Museum.)

Gayle Pavola is a painter and teacher of English at IAMAS. She extracted multitudinous trees and plants from Japanese scroll paintings and Persian miniatures and planted them in our paradise gardens.

Ikuko Miwa teaches Japanese for foreign students at Gifu University. She and her daughter Momo provided the mysterious footsteps that haunt the internment camp. We wish also to thank Professor Masahiro Miwa for many talks and insights into a German/Japan cultural comparison.

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Beyond Manzanar: Acknowledgements

Many, many people have helped us on this project with ideas, feedback, family stories, information, background, advice and support. On this page we would like to acknowledge some of our primary sources and thank them for their help.

"Gardens had sprung up everywhere ... You could face away from the barracks, look past a tiny rapids toward the darkening mountains, and for a while not be a prisoner at all. You could hang suspended in some odd, almost lovely land you could not escape from yet almost didn't want to leave." (From "Farewell to Manzanar" by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James Houston.) This passage was one of the seeds of the idea to make Beyond Manzanar an interactive virtual reality environment, overlayering the reality of the camp with the fantasy of the garden as had the gardeners of Manzanar.

Many thanks to former Manzanar internees Mary Kageyama Nomura, Dr. Frank Kitamoto, Sue Kunitomi Embrey and the Manzanar Committee, and Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston for sharing their memories and photos of Manzanar and their constructive feedback on our project. We hope that our project will help humanity to learn from their experiences, and ensure that they have not suffered in vain.

George Yoshida's many hours of conversation enriched our understanding of the discrimination that Japanese-Americans faced before the war, and how the internees' coped with life in the camps. His stories of musical life in the camps and his stress on the internees' powerful will to create as normal and enjoyable life as possible have been a powerful antidote to the dismal facts of the internment itself. His book "Reminiscing in Swingtime" gives a fascinating overview of Japanese American popular musical culture before, during and immediately after the war.

Many thanks to Professor Itsuo Sakane, Director of IAMAS, for believing in this project and offering us the residency at IAMAS to produce it.

Many thanks to Shiro Yamamoto for technical support at IAMAS, for installation design of two different exhibits so far (!), and for alleviating the long Ogaki winter with his extensive knowledge of the finest local restaurants.

Many thanks to Tsuyoshi Fuyama for technical support at IAMAS, for helping make the first demo tape, and for his cheery company during the long Ogaki winter.

Visual Brains lent their video editing equipment, their artistic expertise and strong emotional support during an all night editing session of the demo reel from the IAMAS AIR exhibition. Thank you for being there for me when I needed you!

Prof. Koji Yagi, Tokyo Institute of Technology, educated us about Japanese building styles. The esthetic sins we have committed to simplify this knowledge for our virtual pavilion are our decisions entirely, and do not reflect on his teachings. We highly recommend his book, "A Japanese Touch For Your Home," if you want to see how it really should be done.

Prof. Takeo Nakajima, Joshi Bijutsu Daigaku, gave a crash course in Japanese garden design and helped find the ancient picture scrolls from which we extracted most of the features in our Japanese garden. Again, being willful western novices we have distorted this information for our own devious purposes, and hope that he forgives us our esthetic transgressions.

Thank you Peter Graf and Art Medlar for stepping into the breach. Your last-minute, 11th hour programming contributions were much appreciated by the overworked programmer.

Holger Grahn not only created the blaxxun Contact VRML browser but also very patiently responded to our cries of help and pleas for new features. Thank you Holger, for making it all clear :-)

Many others at blaxxun interactive Inc. helped us with advice, special testing and pleas for new features. Special thanks to Bernd Knoebel and Tom Volk for help with the VRML browser, Herbert Stocker for creating the joystick interface, Melanie Beisswenger for VRML tips and Britta Kruchen for everything else. And to Franz Buchenberger, for making it all happen :-)

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Beyond Manzanar: Media Credits

Thanks to the many people and institutions who have allowed us to use their photographs, historical and recent, in order to make the metaphorical more personal and the abstract more concrete.

"Can't Fool This Heart Of Mine" and "Don't Ever Change," two songs recorded by "the Songbird of Manzanar" Mary Kageyama Nomura, with texts by her fiancee Shi Nomura at Manzanar, are used courtesy of the County of Inyo, Eastern California Museum. (See also the entry for Mary Kageyama Nomura under Collaborating Artists.)

"Don't Fence Me In," a favorite tune of the Jive Bombers while at Manzanar Internment Camp, is performed by the J-Town Jazz Ensemble and used courtesy of George Yoshida.

Music in the Persian garden is by Ali Reza Eftekhari, from the recording Gharibestan. Persian flute music in the landscape is by Hassan Kassai, Le Ney. The recording of the Azan is courtesy of Partow Houshmand-Rad. We are grateful to Kourosh Taghavi for sharing his explorations of a common ground between Iranian and Japanese music.

Photos of life in Manzanar Internment Camp, seen in the windows of the barracks, are courtesy of the National Archives of the United States.

Wall-sizes images in the American Dream/"visit to the Japanese homeland" room, courtesy of the Art and Sumi Yoshioka Family.

Framed photographs in the sepia-colored Japanese American Dream/pre-war living room courtesy of Mary Kageyama Nomura, Dr. Frank Kitamoto, Art and Sumi Yoshioka Family and the Midori Kono Thiel Family.

Photographs in the Japanese American Dream/Internment Camp room of the evacuees walking down dock at Bainbridge Island and of Fumiko Hayashida holding her daughter are courtesy of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer Collection, Museum of History and Industry, Seattle WA. The other photographs in the room are courtesy of Dr. Frank Kitamoto, Mary Kageyama Nomura and George Yoshida.

Photograph of Shigeko Kitamoto holding photograph of herself with her children in the Iranian Hostage Crisis room courtesy of Bremerton Sun. Articles on the Iranian Hostage Crisis courtesy of Harry Honda of the Japanese American Citizens League's Pacific Citizen archives. Photographs related to the Iranian revolution and hostage crisis courtesy of Jahanshah Javid, Ron Kelley (photos originally published in Irangeles, University of California Press, 1993), and Siamak Namazi.

Photographs in the Iranian American Dream living room courtesy of Mark Manouchehr Houshmand and the Houshmand family; Mindy Brizendine and Ali Pourtash; Jahanshah Javid; Behruz Hashemi; and Ben Bagheri. .

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Text and images 1998-2001 Tamiko Thiel and Zara Houshmand, all rights reserved.