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Finding Freedom in a Bad Situation

Manzanar National Historic Site

National Park News

Lured by spectacular mountain scenery and the opportunity to escape their World War II confinement, Japanese Americans interned at Manzanar regularly fished for trout in the nearby streams of the Eastern Sierra. Special guest docent and Eastern Sierra fishing guide Cory Shiozaki will bring this aspect of the site’s history to life in programs and walking tours focused on Manzanar’s wartime fish stories on both Saturday, May 27 and Sunday, May 28.

“Going trout fishing was a way to feel normal again, to do something you liked doing. It was also an act of defiance, especially in the early days, when there was a real danger of being shot at by armed military guards at the camp,” Shiozaki said. His parents were interned at the Topaz Relocation Center in Central Utah

Cory Shiozaki is currently researching and compiling a comprehensive history on this aspect of life at Manzanar and will share stories of internees “escaping” at night from camp, highlight Manzanar’s well-known fisherman, and share examples of fishing tackle made in camp.

On both Saturday and Sunday, Mr. Shiozaki will present one hour talks beginning at 11:00 a.m. in the West Theatre of the Manzanar Interpretive Center. At 1:00 p.m. he will lead 90 minute walking tours to fishing holes known to be used by Manzanar internees. Those wishing to attend the walking tours should bring water and wear sunscreen, sturdy walking shoes and a hat. From 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mr. Shiozaki will meet with visitors in the Interpretive Center. The programs are free and open to the public. The Manzanar National Historic Site Interpretive Center is located at 5001 Highway 395, six miles south of Independence, California. For more information on the program, please call 760-878-2194 ext. 2710 or visit Manzanar National Historic Site’s website at


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