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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Miyasato was 'The Maestro' of bowling

By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer

The pioneer of bowling in Hawai'i, Kotaro "Taro" Miyasato, died July 16 at Hospice St. Francis. The Hawai'i Sports Hall of Famer was 87.

"He was the godfather of bowling," said Mako Kobayashi, who recently sold his interests in 'Aiea Bowl. "He dominated the game of bowling as an individual and as a team captain."

Miyasato's accomplishments in bowling are striking. According to Bowling Hawaii News, among Miyasato's highlights were: Territorial/state match game champion in 1946, 1947, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1956 and 1960; composite sanctioned league average of 204 from 1958 to 1968; two sanctioned 300 games, the first in a 1965 All-Star Tournament in Philadelphia, earning him national recognition; 11 nonsanctioned 300 games in tournaments and matches.

"He was a master bowler," said Thomas "Bones" Yamasaki, a three-time state match game champion. "He was known as 'The Maestro.' He was such a good bowler. He's the one who brought open league to the forefront. He was the best of his time."

Miyasato, a member of the Professional Bowlers Association for 18 years, had a big influence on Yamasaki, who started bowling in the late 1950s.

"He gave me my first start," said Yamasaki, one of a few bowlers with multiple state match game titles. "He was the type who would go out of his way to teach people. He started to take me to the Mainland. We didn't have that kind of competition over here."

Yamasaki said Miyasato was known for his deadly accuracy and consistency.

"Back in our days, it was about changing angles, instead of changing the ball," Yamasaki said of how technology has affected the sport. "Back then, it was more of a skill."

Miyasato's interests in the sport weren't limited to rolling the ball. He owned Greater Wahiawa Bowling Lanes in the 1950s and later was general manager of Aloha Bowl and Waikiki Bowl, and assistant manager of Kapiolani Bowl. He also served as treasurer for the Hawaii Bowling Proprietors Association for four years. He was a board member of the Hawaii Youth Bowling Association from 1960 to 1972.

Miyasato's most recent interest was as owner of Taro's Pro Shop at Mak Bowl, formerly Kam Bowl. His wife, Mary, continues to run the shop.

While most bowlers today start in junior bowling, Miyasato got his start after high school at age 19 on Kaua'i in 1938. In five years, he was averaging 190, according to an article in Bowling Hawaii News. Among Miyasato's numerous titles, he was 1960 Oahu Bowling Association Master champion, setting a record by downing 1,022 pins over four games and setting another record in the same event by averaging 232 for 36 games.

Miyasato was inducted into the Hawai'i Sports Hall of Fame in 1978. He is one of two Hall of Famers inducted for bowling, the other Hiroto "Hiro" Hirashima, founder of the Hawai'i State Bowling Association.

Miyasato is survived by wife, Mary; son, Douglas; and daughters Elizabeth and Lynne.

Funeral services are scheduled for Aug. 1 at Mililani Mortuary, mauka chapel. Visitation is 5 p.m. with services set for 6.

Reach Stacy Kaneshiro at skaneshiro@honoluluadvertiser.com.