Bikinis in Japan? HAI – Let's visit with Miwako at our Kamakura store...
Kamakura, Japan is a mellow little coastal town, rich in history and south of the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. Wide sand beaches attract large crowds in the summer. The main street has an island feel to it; there is even a Kua ’Aina Burger shop close to the beach. Katsumi and Miwako Murakami were operating Airs Kiteworks, a surf shop in Kamakura, specializing in kite boards and accessories. Their love for all things Hawaii led them to visit the islands often, spending time surfing and soaking up the local culture. Miwako mentioned she wanted to add a bikini line to the store in Kamakura and the obvious choice was Pualani Hawaii. They established a relationship with Iwalani and began carrying the Pualani line in 2003.
In 2012, Katsumi and Miwako decided they wanted to shift their business model. After a seven-hour flight to Honolulu, they were sitting down with Iwalani to present the concept of launching a Pualani store in Kamakura. Iwalani thought it was a great idea and the Murakamis were excited as they made their way back to Japan. They spent the next months kicking ideas around and planning the transition together. Iwalani and Gordon and the Murakamis also held a close personal relationship - a true sense of ohana.
Months later, Katsumi was scheduled to have an afternoon business meeting. He was grumbling to Miwako that he had not been out kite surfing for some time. Miwako suggested he postpone the meeting and go for a surf. Katsumi, being a boy at heart, took his wife’s advice. Sadly, as he returned to the beach after his kiting session, he fell to the sand, having a fatal heart attack.
Miwako was devastated; Iwalani and Gordon shocked. But they all agreed it was better that he went out doing what he loved than stuck in a stuffy meeting. Miwako flew to Hawaii to discuss the matter with them. Still raw from the loss, they met at the Pualani showroom and poured out their grief together. Miwako told Iwalani that she wanted to see Katsumi’s vision through and press on with the opening of Pualani Kamakula.
In 2013, Iwalani and Gordon traveled to Japan to attend the opening. It was a celebration of Katsumi’s life and what has been a fruitful friendship and business venture.
We asked Miwako what was the funniest moment she has experienced since opening the store: “It was the time when my dog ran away with a swimsuit our customer just picked. We noticed the one-piece she purchased was missing when packing up the items she purchased - then found out my dog Joel had stolen the piece and hid it in his crate!”
If you want a healthy dose of Hawaiian-style aloha when visiting Kamakura, be sure to stop by and talk story with Miwako and the staff.
2-16-1 Yuigahama. Kamakura-shi. Kanagawa-Ken 248-0014
tel: +81 467-61-3980 • email: [email protected]