Emerick Ishikawa was Hawai’ian but of Japanese descent. In 1940 he moved to the West Coast, first in Seattle and then Sacramento, hoping for more chances to train to win weightlifting championships. He ended up in a War Relocation Authority camp for Japanese-Americans in Tule Lake, California, but Ishikawa responded by setting up a weightlifting club in the camp, and continuing to lift. After his release Ishikawa won four consecutive AAU Championships, winning as a bantamweight in 1944-45 and a featherweight in 1946-47. He also won a bronze medal at the 1947 World Championships. Ishikawa was the role model for Hawai’ian Tommy Kono, usually considered the greatest American lifter ever, pound-for-pound.
Ishikawa worked as a graphic illustrator at Hickam Air Force base on Oahu. He was named to the National Weightlifting Hall of Fame in 1975 and the Hawai’i Sports Hall of Fame in 1999. He was also given a special recognition award by the Nu‘uanu YMCA for 33 years of service as a volunteer weightlifting instructor.