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Naha’s Kokueikan closes, new multiplex to open

Date Posted: 2002-09-28

Curtain fell for the last time in Naha’s largest movie theater Kokueikan on Sep. 20 after 47 years in business. The theater will be replaced with a new multiplex theater called “Cinemas Q” that will open Oct. 1 in Naha’s new center Omoromachi.

Located just off Kokusai Street, Kokueikan was in the past also used for staging concerts. The most famous artist to give a concert in the theater was the late Japanese ballad legend Hibari Misora. “I remember when Hibari had a concert here, the people lined up all the way to the Kokusai Street. This movie theater was like a dreamland for many of us,” a 72-year old man said.

The new Cinemas Q is a part of the new San-A shopping complex Naha Central that is also to open Oct. 1. Omoromachi is located on a former American Makinominato military housing area that was returned almost 20 years ago. The area’s development got under way only two years ago.

It is designed to become the new center area for the city. Naha City Office, several prefectural offices, shopping malls, schools and residential buildings have been or are under construction in the area. “Naha’s old center is very crowded, its streets are narrow, and it really has become a bottleneck in the city’s development and business. Omoromachi will change all that,” a city planner said.

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