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Lifestyle // Old Friends
Nicole Kato

Mark Mugiishi

Leah Friel photo lfriel@midweek.com

Mark Mugiishi is a jack-of-all-trades. From 1989 to 2009, “Doc” coached Iolani’s high school boys basketball team and accumulated more than 400 wins, 10 ILH titles and a record seven state championships – despite never having played the game competitively.

Recognized as one of Hawaii’s top cancer surgeons and having retired from coaching in 2009, he is now medical director for Skai Ventures, Endoscopy Institute of Hawaii and Hawaii Medical Services Association (HMSA). Mugiishi, who was on MidWeek‘s cover April 1, 1998, also is a practicing surgeon at Central Medical Clinic and Kuakini Medical Center.

Skai Ventures is a technology accelerator, and Mugiishi says the company is conducting a lot of exciting research in the biotechnology field, including an artificial cornea, the security microtag TruTag, and a remediation gel (DeconGel) that is an eco-friendly solution for nuclear, radiological and chemical cleanup.

“Part of what our technology accelerator has done is we started building ambulatory surgery centers to deliver focused health care in Hawaii that is more efficient and more cost-effective,” he explains. “We built two (surgery centers), the Eye Surgery Center of Hawaii at Dole, and also the Endoscopy Institute of Hawaii at Hale Pawa’a.”

The Endoscopy Institute of Hawaii allows for increased access to the most advanced and efficient colorectal cancer screening.

As if Mugiishi’s list of accomplishments is not yet long enough, he also is producing a musical starring Lea Salonga, George Takei and Telly Leung. Allegiance will open on Broadway hopefully in the spring of 2014, and tells the story of the World War II Japanese internment camps and the heroism of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

“Our philosophy in producing this musical is to get this message to mainstream America,” Mugiishi explains. “We’re using music and a beautiful musical score to tell the story of one family.”

The story line takes the audience through hardships encountered and how it affected conflict in the family, but it’s all overcome with love and redemption in the end.

Mugiishi and friend Jay Kuo (who wrote the musical score) did the musical’s regional run at San Diego’s Old Globe, and Allegiance broke the record for the largest-grossing show at the theater.

“When he (Kuo) shared with me the musical score, it touched me,” Mugiishi says. “We put together a team that has been pushing forward. It’s been going on since 2008, and we’re finally heading to the big stage.

“It’s a lot, but it’s been fun and worthwhile. We want people from Hawaii to go see it.”

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