In observance of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month during May, the annual “Manzanar Fishing Club” lecture and screening will be presented again by the Manzanar National Historic Site.

Customarily held at the National Historic Site itself, this year’s event will be staged online in deference to the State of California lockdown in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic.

“We look forward to this event every year,” said “Manzanar Fishing Club” director/producer Cory Shiozaki. “We’ve been doing it going back nearly a decade, but given the dire nature of the current situation, we decided in conjunction with the Manzanar park rangers to find a safer way to accomplish our goal.”

The program will be presented on Saturday, May 23, at 11 a.m. and will feature a screening of a 29-minute abbreviated version of the award-winning documentary film “Manzanar Fishing Club,” followed by a live question-and-answer session with Shiozaki, screenwriter Richard Imamura and director of photograhy Michael Nakamura, plus a special appearance by former Manzanar incarceree Danny Hashimoto, the son of legendary Terminal Island fisherman Amos Hashimoto.

The event will be presented on the Zoom platform and will be limited to the first 100 participants. The format will allow for direct questions live from the audience. To reserve a spot, RSVP to:

“This different format presents new opportunities to spread the story of Manzanar and the relocation,” Shiozaki added. “While our normal event is usually limited by practicality to people from California and closely adjacent areas — essentially within driving distance — since we’ll be online, the range will be limitless! I look forward to meeting new people from places beyond our normal audience.”

“The Manzanar Fishing Club” is set during the removal of Japanese Americans (two-thirds of whom were native-born citizens) from their homes on the Pacific Coast and subsequent incarceration in ten “relocation centers” (prison camps) sprinkled throughout states west of the Mississippi River. Manzanar, the first of the camps, was operational by April 1942.

The story follows various incarcerees as they snuck under the barbed-wire fence and out of the camp to fish for trout in the surrounding streams and mountain lakes.

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