A Big Wow in Waikiki

Legendary Waikiki impresario Roy Tokujo teams with a founding creator of Cirque du Soleil to bring the show Waikiki Neito the Royal Hawaiian Center - a show far grander than anything

Friday - July 11, 2008
By Alice Keesing
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Aerialists rehearse for the opening of Waikiki Nei
Aerialists rehearse for the opening of Waikiki Nei

Legendary Waikiki impresario Roy Tokujo and a Cirque du Soleil creator team up to bring a high-tech, world-class show, Waikiki Nei,to Royal Hawaiian Center. And after the show, the room turns into an ultra lounge

A new era in entertainment is about to dawn in Waikiki. It arrives with Waikiki Nei, a multi-media production that blends Hawaii’s unique culture with a stunning world-class production. When the show opens this month, surfers will soar through space with computerized flying equipment, tourists will land on stage in suitcases and Hawaiian canoes will launch into the audience.

There is a big wow factor to this show. But the heart of it, the essence of it, is the Hawaiian people and their culture, says Roy Tokujo, the local entertainment leader who is behind the show and its new venue on Level 4 of the reinvigorated Royal Hawaiian Center.

Roy Tokujo, on the catwalk above the Waikiki Nei showroom
Roy Tokujo, on the catwalk above the Waikiki Nei showroom, wants to produce a show that is true to the essence of Hawaiian culture and people

Tokujo is a Waipahu boy who grew up and went to study nuclear physics at the University of California, Berkeley. But his path changed when he sat down with his adviser (none other than the father-of-the-H-bomb Edward Teller) and told him that his goal was to live and work back home in the Islands.

“I can still hear him saying in his deep Hungarian accent that there was no way I was going to go back to Hawaii to be a nuclear physicist,” Tokujo says with a chuckle.

Hawaii in those days was all sugar and pineapple, but Tokujo’s next piece of advice came from another Island son, United Airlines president William Patterson, who told him that the jet plane was going to revolutionize the world


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