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Miyakoís sole theater closes after 50 years

Date Posted: 2002-02-28

Miyako Islandís only movie theater, the Miyako Kokueikan, closed its doors on Feb. 22 after losing the majority of its patrons to the video rental industry. While the number of moviegoers is on an upward trend around the country, the southernmost of Japanís movie theaters has ceased to exist after a half century of service. Established in 1954, Miyako Kokueikan was once a center of public entertainment along with two other theaters on the island; however, the prevalence of television and videos gradually ate away at the popularity of movies. In addition, since it was too expensive for the Miyako theater to buy films directly from distribution companies, it had to wait for new movies until they had finished their run on Okinawa, further decreasing audiences. The theaterís future has yet to be decided.

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