The Illusionist

October 1, 2012 | By Waikiki Magazine Team

By Matthew Wells

See what John Hirokawa has up his sleeve during Magic of Polynesia

With the low rumble of rolling thunder and the call of a conch shell, the show begins! Magic of Polynesia showcases the allure of the hula, the intensity of fire-knife dancing and the theatrics of a Vegas stage show in the heart of Waikiki. Shining at the center of it all is the magic of illusionist John Hirokawa.

Photos courtesy of Roberts Hawaii

Magic of Polynesia is one of the longest-running shows of its style in the world, and moves with a practiced speed that defies you to spot its secrets. Performing for kama‘aina and visitors alike since 1990, Magic of Polynesia was originally designed to bring the theatrics of a David Copperfield-style performance to Hawai‘i under the guise of a produced Polynesian stage show. What it has evolved into is a combination of three main elements to the overall set. First is the Polynesian-influenced dance and performance numbers. Second, are the over-the-top, stage-spanning illusions. Finally, there are plenty of interactions with the audience for close-up magic and more than a few jokes.

The host for the 75-minute performance is Hawai‘i-born-and-raised illusionist John Hirokawa. His goal is to guide his international audience through a performance that entertains while challenging your expectations. And Hirokawa has the chops to do just that. The master illusionist is a previous winner of the prestigious Merlin Award from the International Magicians Society (think: Oscars for magicians). Does the guy in the front row look like a bit of a stuffed-shirt? Let Hirokawa put him on stage with a few props and one of the beautiful assistants and find out just how crazy he can get. It’s all about perception, and like any good magic act, Magic of Polynesia wants to play with how you see things. Whether the surprise comes from the reveal at the tug of a covering sheet or the punch line of a joke; it is genuinely a good time for the entire family.

Set in the Holiday Inn Waikiki Beachcomber, Magic of Polynesia is a fun evening of entertainment that certainly seems geared towards visitors at first glance. However, kama‘aina looking for a night out will be thrilled to find a bit of Vegas-style theatrics a lot closer to home.

The Details:

Shows start every night at 6:30 p.m. (5:30 p.m. Dinner and Deluxe Dinner Packages are also available.)

Holiday Inn Waikiki Beachcomber, 2300 Kalakaua Ave., (808) 922-4646 [C:8 Waikiki Map]

How Much:
Go to for ticketing package info and online ordering.

Best bet is to valet at the Beachcomber. $6 with validation.