DR. SEIJI NAYA
DR. SEIJI NAYA December 20, 1932 - August 9, 2016 Seiji Naya was born in Japan but made Hawaii his home since he was brought here in the early 1950s by Earl Finch, a noted friend to Nisei soldiers. In 1954 & 1955, he won the NCAA featherweight boxing titles, bringing home two of the earliest national titles to the University of Hawaii (UH) and, in 1984, was inducted into the UH Sports Hall of Honor. He received his BBA from UH in 1958. In 1965, he graduated with a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Wisconsin and returned to the University of Hawaii to teach and begin what would be over 40 years in the field of international economics and Asian development. His career has included serving as a Rockefeller Foundation Visiting Professor at Thammasat University in Thailand (1970s) and chief economist of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Manila in the early 1980s. From 1994-2002, he served in the cabinet of the State of Hawaii as director of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT). He retired as Distinguished Visiting Senior Fellow at the East-West Center (EWC) and Emeritus Professor at UH Manoa (UH). He has done extensive research and consultation on a range of Asia-Pacific economic policy and development issues under the auspices of and/or grants from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, US Agency for International Development, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretariat, the ADB, and International Center for Economic Growth, among others. His many economic publications include the Asian Development Experience, published in 2002 by the Asian Development Bank, translated into Japanese by Tokai University and published by Bushindo in 2013. He has been key in establishing the non-profit Asia Pacific Exchange and Development to foster goodwill between Ehime, Japan and Hawaii following the tragic Ehime Maru sinking in 2001. In addition to baseball and culture, the established linkage has encouraged business development and travel to Hawaii. Dr. Naya has always been grateful for his good fortune and the kindness of people no matter where he worked - by the people of Hawaii, his mentors in sports and academe, his doctoral students in Hawaii and Asia, many of whom became esteemed leaders throughout the world, his colleagues and associates at the EWC and UH, the dedicated DBEDT family and legislators who worked alongside him; the supporters and participants of the Ehime-Hawaii goodwill youth exchange; and all the loyal family, friends, and caregivers who were always at his side. Dr. Naya passed peacefully at Hale Ola Kino (nursing home) ending his almost 8-year struggle following a stroke in 2008. He is survived by wife Jane to whom he has been married for 55 years and two sons, Kevin Finch Naya and Kendall Hideo Naya (Dawn) and 5 grandchildren. A private service was held Aug. 12. He is interred at the Diamond Head Memorial Park next to Earl Finch.
Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the deceased