Alice Sae Teshima Noda

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Alice Sae Teshima Noda (July 28, 1894 – July 25, 1964) was an American businesswoman, a dental hygienist and beauty industry entrepreneur in Hawaii and Tokyo.

Early life[edit]

Alice Sae Teshima was born in Hawaii,[1] the daughter of Yasuke Teshima and Eki Kurauchi. Her parents were immigrants from Japan who worked as farm laborers before they had their own pineapple farm. She attended the Hawaiian Japanese Language School, and graduated from President William McKinley High School. As a young mother with four children, she returned to school to train as a dental hygienist at the Honolulu Dental Infirmary, and again a few years later, to learn cosmetology in Los Angeles and New York.[2]


In 1922, Noda was hired to teach dental hygiene to children for the Hawaii Department of Public Instruction. By 1925, she started a chain of beauty salons in Hawaii. That same year, Noda served as personal interpreter and guide when Princess Nobuko Asaka toured the islands. She was president of the Hawaii Dental Hygienists' Association, president of the Honolulu Hairdressers and Cosmetologists Association, and vice-chair of the League of Women Voters chapter in Honolulu. She was the first examiner appointed to the Territorial Board of Beauty Culture, and was credited with bringing fashionable "flapper" bobbed hairstyles and permanent waves to Hawaii.[3]

In 1936, Noda opened a beauty salon in the Ginza in Tokyo, where her techniques quickly became fashionable with socialites and actresses.[4] She also wrote a beauty column for Japanese newspapers. In 1941, Noda had to close her Cherry Beauty Salon in Honolulu because of wartime suspicion towards Japanese-Americans. After World War II, Noda became head of the Japanese Women's Society in Honolulu, the first American citizen to hold that position.[5]

Personal life[edit]

In 1912, Alice Sae Teshima married lawyer Steere Gikaku Noda (1892-1986), whose parents were also farmers from Japan. They had four children. She died in 1964, just before her 70th birthday.[2]

Her granddaughter Lenny Yajima was executive director of the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i, and president of the Japan-America Society of Hawaii.[6][7]


  1. ^ Japanese Women's Society Foundation, History.
  2. ^ a b Barbara Bennett Peterson, "Alice Sae Teshima Noda" in American National Biography Online (Oxford University Press 2000).
  3. ^ Victoria Sherrow, "Alice Sae Teshima Noda" in Encyclopedia of Hair: A Cultural History (Greenwood Publishing Group 2006): 292-293. ISBN 9780313331459
  4. ^ Edith Kaneshiro, "Alice Sae Teshima Noda" in Brian Niiya, ed., Japanese-American History: An A-to-Z Reference from 1868 to the Present (VNR AG 1993): 268. ISBN 9780816026807
  5. ^ Lenny Yajima Andrew, "Promoting Japanese Culture" (February 3, 2010).
  6. ^ Christine Donnelly, "Lenny Yajima '79 Andrew" Punahou Bulletin (Summer 2016).
  7. ^ "Lenny Yajima" Hawai'i Herald (September 2014).