There’s nothing really magical about John Hirokawa’s rise to the top of Hawaii’s entertainment scene. His success is no illusion, either. It’s all a product of the Wahiawa-born showman’s lifelong passion for making the impossible possible—right before our very eyes.
Hirokawa, who stars in the award-winning Magic of Polynesia dinner show at the Waikiki Beachcomber, started doing magic at an early age. “My mom and I would go to the library and borrow magic books,” he recalled in an interview with ALOHA Magazine. “She would read the instructions and teach me the tricks.”
At the age of eight, Hirokawa began taking magic lessons at the now-defunct Magic & Novelty Center in Honolulu. Before long, he found himself working with an illusionist who’s now known across the world: David Copperfield. At the time (the mid-1970s), Copperfield was performing at the Pagoda Hotel, and Hirokawa became his warm-up act.
“By working beside him and learning, I had no choice but to become a professional magician at an early age,” said Hirokawa.
By the time he was 16, Hirokawa was established enough to earn numerous accolades, including winning the junior division of the prestigious Federation International des Societes Magiques in Belgium.
Today, Magic of Polynesia is a mesmerizing showcase for Hirokawa’s wizardry. Equal parts magic, Hawaiiana, humor and downright fun, the show includes hula and chant performances as well as Hirokawa’s world-class illusions. Audiences gasp in awe as the gifted showman makes objects (and people) vanish and reappear. His escape artist feats are nothing short of spectacular.
As a Honolulu Star-Bulletin critic put it, “Hirokawa delivers a first-class show. Handsome, trim and buff enough to go shirtless at one point in the show, he is an appealing and engaging star who proves himself an entertainer as well as a master illusionist.”
In 2004, Hirokawa received the prestigious International Magicians Society Merlin Award for the “Most Original” magic show.