fix bar
fix bar
fix bar
fix bar
fix bar
fix bar

Manzanar Fishing Club (film)

DVD cover. Courtesy of Cory Shiosaki and Richard Imamura
View in the Densho Encyclopedia

Feature length documentary film on Manzanar inmates who temporarily escaped from the confines of the camp to fish in the nearby streams and mountains. In addition to interviews with former inmate fishermen (and women) and archival images, The Manzanar Fishing Club also tells its story using animation and recreated scenes with actors. The film had a limited theatrical release in April 2012 and was released on DVD on October 30, 2012. It was funded in part by grants from the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program and the Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant program .

The initial inspiration for the film came from a 2004 Los Angeles Times article that included a photograph of a Manzanar inmate identified only as Ishikawa holding a golden trout. Cory Shiozaki, a television cameraman and avid fisherman, was intrigued by the photograph, since he knew that golden trout could only be found at elevations over 8,000 feet. How had this concentration camp denizen managed to land such a fish? Over the next several years, he began to research the story of fishing at Manzanar, eventually finding former Manzanar fishermen, including the identity of Ishikawa. A resident of Eastern Sierra, Shiozaki became a volunteer docent at the Manzanar National Historic Site and created a program on fishing at Manzanar. Through publicity about his research, he joined forces with Lester Chung and John Gengl of Talk Story, Inc., who along with childhood friend Richard Imamura, formed the creative team for the film. The team eventually interviewed twenty-six former inmates or family members and accumulated some seventy hours of interview footage for the film

Manzanar Fishing Club was widely reviewed to a mixed response. Reviewers praised the film's posing of fishing as a symbol of freedom and subversion as well as the unobtrusive style of filmmaking and its unique and narrow focus as a means to tell the larger story of incarceration. [1] At the same time, many reviewers felt that film was too long and became mired in minutiae about technical aspects of fishing. [2]

Authored by Brian Niiya , Densho

Might also like Hidden Legacy: Japanese Traditional Arts in the World War II Internment Camps (2014); Searchlight Serenade (2012); Diamonds in the Rough: Zeni and the Legacy of Japanese-American Baseball (1999)


  1. See, for instance, Michael Atkinson, "The Manzanar Fishing Club: Japanese-Americans Remember Their Shameful Detention.," Seattle Weekly , May 29, 2012, accessed on January 7, 2014 at .; Andrew Hamlin,"The Manzanar Fishing Club," Northwest Asian Weekly , June 14, 2012, accessed on January 7, 2014 at ; and Robert Pennybacker, "Fishing for Freedom," Honolulu Weekly , June 20, 2012, accessed on January 7, 2014 at .
  2. For instance, Lou Loumenick wrote in The New York Post that it "...has enough interesting footage for perhaps a 15-minute segment of a TV news magazine. Beyond that, my eyes started to glaze over with endless talk about rods, reels and bait." Frank Scheck wrote in The Hollywood Reporter that the topic "hardly seems worthy of this full-length treatment," while Tom Keogh of The Seattle Times added that the filmmakers "may get lost sometimes in the finer points of fishing gear...." Lou Lumenick, "The Manzanar Fishing Club," New York Post , Sept. 14, 2012, accessed on January 7, 2014 at ; Frank Scheck, "The Manzanar Fishing Club: Film Review," The Hollywood Reporter , Sept. 14, 2012, accessed on January 7, 2014 at ; Tom Keogh, "'The Manzanar Fishing Club': Internees Catch a Taste of Freedom," The Seattle Times , May 31, 2012, accessed on January 7, 2014 at .
Media Details
Release Date 2012
Runtime 74 minutes
Director Cory Shiozaki
Producer Cory Shiozaki
Writer Richard Imamura
Music James Achor
Cinematography Lester Chung
Editing Lester Chung
For More Information

For More Information

Official website: .

" Behind the Scenes of 'The Manzanar Fishing Club. '" Clip from KCAL 9 (Los Angeles) news broadcast featuring filmmakers Cory Shiozaki and Richard Imamura, Jan. 31, 2011.

Matsumoto, Nancy. " Fishing as a Form of Defiance: Cory Shiozaki and 'The Manzanar Fishing Club.' " Discover Nikkei website, Apr. 4, 2013.

Shigekuni, Phil. " Senior Moments: The Manzanar Fishing Club. " Rafu Shimpo , Apr. 4, 2012.

Thomas, Pete. " At Manzanar, Fishing Was the Great Escape. " Los Angeles Times , Apr. 24, 2009.

Yamamoto, J.K. " 'Manzanar Fishing Club' Plays to Packed House Over Weekend. " Rafu Shimpo , Apr. 4, 2012.



Atkinson, Michael. " The Manzanar Fishing Club: Japanese-Americans Remember Their Shameful Detention. " Seattle Weekly , May 29, 2012.

———. " The Manzanar Fishing Club. " The Village Voice , Sept. 12, 2012.

DeWitt, David. " Rebels With Fishing Poles. " New York Times , Sept. 13, 2012.

Fine, Marshall. " Movie Review: The Manzanar Fishing Club . " Huffington Post , Sept. 13, 2012.

Goldstein, Gary. " Escaping in the Pursuit of Trout ." Los Angeles Times , Mar. 30, 2012.

Hamlin, Andrew. " The Manzanar Fishing Club. " Northwest Asian Weekly , June 14, 2012.

Keogh, Tom. "'The Manzanar Fishing Club': Internees Catch a Taste of Freedom." The Seattle Times , May 31, 2012. .

La Salle, Mick. " 'The Manzanar Fishing Club': In an Internment Camp. " San Francisco Chronicle , May 4, 2012.

Lumenick, Lou. " The Manzanar Fishing Club. " New York Post , Sept. 14, 2012.

Pennybacker, Robert. " Fishing for Freedom. " Honolulu Weekly , June 20, 2012.

Scheck, Frank. " The Manzanar Fishing Club: Film Review. " The Hollywood Reporter , Sept. 14, 2012.