“The Manzanar Fishing Club” is coming to the Shogun Derby. A preview of the documentary film on the Japanese American internees who used to sneak out of the Manzanar Relocation Center to fish the surrounding waters of the Eastern Sierra will be presented at the opening banquet of the annual trout fishing derby, which will be held July 22-23.
“Our film is the untold story of those who took back brief moments of freedom by braving the armed guards and barbed wire to go trout fishing,” said Cory Shiozaki, the filmmaker who organized the project. “Going trout fishing was a way to feel normal again, to do something you liked doing, just like any other American. It was a great tonic for being locked up; and it was also an act of defiance, especially in the early days, when there was the very real danger of being shot at by armed military guards at the camp.”
“The Manzanar Fishing Club” is set for release later this year, and the first 20 minutes of the much-anticipated documentary film will be screened at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, July 22, at Shogun Restaurant in Mammoth Lakes. “We are thrilled to give an early look to our many friends in the fishing community,” Shiozaki added. “Shogun continues the long tradition of fishing derbies that have been a part of the Japanese American experience since the first immigrants arrived, and we are proud to be a part of it.”
Manzanar — located along U.S. Highway 395 between Lone Pine and Independence — was the first of 10 internment camps built during World War II to house nearly 120,000 Japanese Americans, citizens and non-citizens alike, forced from their homes on the West Coast. More than 10,000 internees, mostly from Los Angeles, but with a sprinkling from Sacramento and Bainbridge Island, Wash., were sent to Manzanar.
Sweltering during the summer, near-freezing during the winter and open to a driving wind, Manzanar was a difficult place to live. But it was also part of the Eastern Sierra, and that meant trout. Rainbow, brown and brook trout lived in streams within half a day’s walk, and in the mountains to the west, accessible to those up to the challenge of climbing there, lurked the Colorado cutthroats and California goldens.
Now in its 29th year, the Shogun Derby is held at Crowley Lake. For more information, contact Roxanne Tani at (760) 934-6679 or [email protected]