Monday, February 4, 2002

Noboru Furuya, shown here in 1959, was owner of Nippon Theatre and former president of Shiseido of Hawaii. Furuya died Jan. 30 at 82.

Theater owner bridged
Japan, Hawaii

Noboru Furuya / Businessman


By Rosemarie Bernardo

In the 1950s, people lined up at Nippon Theatre on Beretania Street to watch "Kimi no Nawa," a love story set during the war.

Theater owner Noboru Furuya continued to entertain residents with Japanese films for the next 30 years.

Furuya, an entrepreneur in entertainment, cosmetics and broadcasting, died Jan. 30. He was 82 years old.

In the mid-1930s, Furuya's father purchased Park Theatre next to Aala Park as an investment. After serving in the 100th Infantry Battalion, Noboru Furuya reopened the establishment as the Nippon Theatre in October 1948. Sixteen years later, Furuya and his brothers moved the Nippon to Beretania Street at the Palace Theatre.

In 1960, Furuya started selling a Japanese cosmetic line called Shiseido in Hawaii. He later became the president and owner of Shiseido of Hawaii before selling his share of the stock to Shiseido Co. Ltd.

While promoting the cosmetic line in the 1960s, Furuya acquired KZOO Radio Station, one of two Japanese-language programs to run seven days a week. The station drew a loyal following, especially from the Japanese elderly.

In January 1981, Furuya closed the theater after the number of moviegoers declined.

Following his accomplishments as a businessman, Furuya was recognized for strengthening the relationship between Hawaii and Japan when he was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun Imperial Decoration by the government of Japan.

Furuya is survived by his wife Mitsuru, son David, daughter Aileen Nagaoka and seven grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held 6 p.m. Thursday at Diamond Head Mortuary. Burial will take place at 1 p.m. the following day at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl.

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