MASATO DOI

Posted On September 25th, 2013 -

9-25 MASAO DOIMASATO DOI On July 21, 2013, the life of one of Hawai`i’s elder statesmen drew to a close. After a long and exceptional life, former Circuit Court Judge Masato Doi died at his home, surrounded by his family. At 92, Masato had lived a life marked by probity and deep commitment to his community. Born on February 4, 1921, in Pa`auhau, Hawai`i, Masato was the youngest child of Toyozo Dohi and Tose Muranaka Dohi. A child of the plantation, he attended Pa`auhau School and Honoka`a Intermediate School. Ever the academic powerhouse, he earned a scholarship to Mid-Pacific Institute (MPI) on Oahu. He was graduated from MPI in 1939 and began his studies at the University of Hawaii Teacher’s College. Immediately following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Masato, along with many other young men, joined the Hawai`i Territorial Guard. Following its dissolution, he formally withdrew from the University and became one of the founding members of the Varsity Victory Volunteers (VVV), an all- Japanese American group attached to the United States Army as a labor force. He served with the VVV until he and other Japanese Americans were able to enlist in the United States Army. Masato served with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, Antitank Company, and saw battlefield action in Italy and France. Upon his discharge in 1945 he held the rank of Technical Sergeant. After the war, anti-Japanese sentiments were still prevalent on the mainland, but through the efforts of his mentors, Masato was able to take advantage of the G.I. Bill and enroll in Columbia College, where he completed his undergraduate studies, graduating Phi Beta Kappa. He then went on to earn his law degree at Columbia Law School, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone scholar. While in school, Masato met Sachiko Yamada, who had relocated from California to New York following her internment in the Manzanar War Relocation Center during World War II. They were married in 1949 and, after he received his law degree, moved to Honolulu in 1950. Their new life included a law practice and two children, Carolyn and Philip. Before long, guided by his innate desire to help people and serve his community, Masato became an active force in Hawai`i politics. As part of the “Democratic Revolution,” he was elected to the Territorial House of Representatives in 1954 and subsequently served on the Honolulu Board of Supervisors. From 1961 through 1964 he was chairman of the first Honolulu City Council. After an unsuccessful bid for mayor of Honolulu in 1964, Masato was appointed by Governor John A. Burns to the Circuit Court bench, a position which suited his gifts and nature. His values of fairness, honesty, integrity, thoroughness, and consideration of the best interests of the community resonated through this period of his career. Under his guidance as chairman of the Judicial Council of Hawaii Penal Law Revision Project, the Hawai`i Penal Code was born. In 1978, Judge Doi stepped down from the bench and returned to his private legal practice and, when able, volunteered at The Institute for Human Services, the Visitors Center of the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Punchbowl, and Project Dana. Sachiko, Masato’s wife of 43 years, died in 1992. Five years later, at age 75, Masato married Cynthia Chi and embarked on a new chapter in his life. Apart from his family and his work, his greatest pleasure was playing golf. An active member of the Waialae Country Club for more than 50 years, he last shot his age at 90 and was still playing with his gang at 92! Over the years he also traveled extensively, often visiting friends and family in Japan. Masato was preceded in death by parents Toyozo and Tose Dohi; siblings Hatsuyo Yamamoto, Matsu, Take, and Katsu Doi, Mitsu Nakata, and Ethel Saigo. He is survived by wife Cynthia Chi-Doi, daughter Carolyn Nomura (Myron), son Philip (Cammy), grandchildren Adrian and Loren Nomura, Frederika Bain, Christopher and Kiko Doi; brother Yutaka Doi (Margie); and a large extended family of nephews and nieces. An honorable and just man, Masato Doi thought deeply and listened carefully. Though his friends and family will miss him dearly, we celebrate the life of a remarkable man whose heart and moral compass always steered him true and led him to the American Dream. In accordance with Masato’s wishes, funeral services were privately held.


- Denotes U.S. Military Veteran