IWAKI, Fukushima Prefecture -- The hot spring resort made famous by the film “Hula Girls” will reopen at the start of October after being forced to close by the Great East Japan Earthquake.
Since May, the Spa Resort Hawaiians’ 28 "Hula Girls" have been touring Japan and South Korea to try to support the resort, which sustained damage to its buildings in the disaster. They put on shows at 125 venues and, on Sept. 29, returned home for an open rehearsal ahead of the reopening.
The dancers’ efforts echo the struggles 46 years ago of the first hula dancers in Iwaki, who also went on tour before the resort was first opened. Their inspiring story is told in Lee Sang-il’s 2006 film.
"We want to transform the encouragement people gave us in different places into a driving force and repay their kindness at our Spa Resort Hawaiians," said Maluhia Yukari, the lead dancer.
Although some of the resort's facilities are still not operational, hot springs, some hotel accommodation and an open-air hot spring pool will reopen on Oct. 1.
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