Iwaki Hula Girls Revive-Jouban Hawaiian Centre

April 4, 2011 Juju Kurihara 0 Comments

Iwaki city, Fukushima is one of the places which had a damage from the quake attacked on the 11th of March. In 1965, a town of Iwaki city was a small coal mining town that was about to close due as oil became the predominant energy resource in Japan. Some families left the town to move to other coal mine and some stayed desperately.

To save the town, the mining company developed a plan to use hot springs, which seeped into the mines, to provide heat for a Joban Hawaiian Centre spa resort. The mine owner thought that they needed a spectacle to attract the customers, a "famous" dancer was recruited from Tokyo as a instructor to train local girls to be hula dancers.

This story became a film which was on show in 2006. As the UK made Full Monty, Japan made Hula Girls. Like any coal mining town which had closed down at the expansion of oil or nuclear energy, people who lived for the mine had a hard time. The film is sad but somehow comical and cheerful. If you haven't seen it, it's worth it, gives you a bit of power.

Here is the trailer of Hula Girls.


Iwaki city lost 277 people from the earthquake and tsunami. Now with the accident in Fukushima Daiichi, no visitors will come to the Joban Hawaiian Centre because of the fear for the radiation.

first hula girlsThis triggered the memory of the owner of the Joban Hawaiian Centre, Mr. Saitou who accompanied the first Hula Girls all over Japan to promote the centre. He says this reputation is worse than closing the mine.

Mr. Satou has decided to revive tour of Hula Girls after 45 years to cheer people still living in the shelter and to recover Fukushima.


hula girlsEx Iwaki Hula Girls are also part of thie project. They have decided to hold Japan Hula "highschool" Girls Competition in Koushien, Osaka. After the quake, this project seemed to have fallen through but 13 high schools rose their hand to compete and moreover, they did a campaign to raise funds for the event.

This competition will be held in the summer.

I hope that by summer, the smile will back to many people's faces.



More about Japanese TV program and films

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Swing Girls


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