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Another touch of nostalgia closes its doors on Kokusai

Date Posted: 2004-12-30

Kokusai-dori has lost another longtime attraction.

After 51 years, the Sakurazaka Cinecom Ryuuei is preparing to close its doors. The gilded movie theater will officially fade away in April, leaving sadness on the hearts and faces of countless customers who’ve been patrons for decades.

Customers have dwindled in recent years, drawn away by cinema complexes in Hamby Town, American Village and in the past year or so, Omoromachi’s Naha Main Place. Sakurazaka Cine Co. Ryuuei has been losing customers for many reasons, including a lack of free parking in the area.

“This movie theater has very special movies,”one patron said. “They’re not major ones, but very individual, or Japanese documentaries, and then music festivals for families and children. The theater’s responsibility was very effective, and helped people.”

Sakurazaka area represent ative Keishou Kina, 57, says “this movie theater has a very special taste for people, because it’s located in the middle of downtown. It’s in the middle of the bar street area, where very customer enjoyed their lifestyle. Downtown was very lively,” he said, and added”I feel like this town has lost its lights of night. It was the peoples’ dream.”

Another said “I’m lonely now. I went to the theater almost every day since it opened. It’s brought a lot of customers to my restaurant. Over the 50 years my restaurant has lived with this movie theater.” He recalled that until ten years ago, customers lined up to buy a ticket for many of the movies.

The theater is located just behind Kokusai Street, a street that’s been changing to a more modern way, with new buildings, boutiques, restaurants and streets decorated with flowers.

Still, it didn’t attract customers. Why? The movie theater was showing Japanese movies, and some people speculate that the young girls of today aren’t watching Japanese movies, but rather, worldwide motion pictures. The middle age people patronizing the theater are dwindling, and they don’t take the time for going out to movies like they used to.

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