Dr. Seiji Naya

Dr. Seiji Naya
December 20, 1932
August 9, 2016

Remembering Dr. Seiji Naya

Seiji Naya was born in Japan but made Hawaiʻi 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 Hawaiʻi (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 Hawaiʻi 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 in Manila in the early 1980s. From 1994-2002, he served in the cabinet of the State of Hawaiʻi 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 Mānoa (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, UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, US Agency for International Development, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations 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 Hawaiʻi following the tragic Ehime Maru sinking in Waikiki in 2001. In addition to baseball and culture, the established linkage has encouraged business development and travel to Hawaiʻi.

Dr. Naya has always been grateful for his good fortune and the kindness of people no matter where he worked – by the people of Hawaiʻi, 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.

Journal of Asian Economics - Editorial: A tribute to Seiji Naya (pdf)

Giving (Option A)

Seiji Naya Student Awards Fund

The program awards a full time student of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa economics doctoral program who applies for the award and submits a required third-year research paper to their research paper committee during the current academic year. The selection is based on the quality of the paper, the importance of the research topic and publication prospects for the paper.

» Contribute to this fund online


Giving (Option B)

Seiji Naya Asia-Pacific Research Fund

The research fund is used by the UH Department of Economics to pay honorariums, subsidize travel, or pay living expenses to individuals visiting the UH-Mānoa campus to conduct research on the Asia-Pacific Region or to make presentations that incorporate their research and/or experience with the Asia-Pacific Region to UH-Mānoa faculty and/or students.

» Contribute to this fund online


Giving (Option C)

Asia Pacific Exchange and Development (APED)

Federal Tax ID#: 31-1747918

Established by Dr. Naya on September 28, 1999 to promote and improve economic, cultural, educational, social development and social welfare in the State of Hawaii and Asian-Pacific nations by facilitating through coordinated activity or competitive advantage the following: (i) economic development, (ii) intercultural education, (iii) information transfer and, (iv) amateur athletic competition.

Primary activity: Ehime-Hawaii Goodwill Youth Baseball Exchange

Make check payable to: APED
For: In Honor of Seiji Naya
Asia Pacific Exchange and Development
P.O. Box 4714
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi 96813


Giving (Option D)

East West Center Foundation

Federal Tax ID#: 99-0218752

The East-West Center, established by the U.S. Congress in 1960, contributes to a peaceful, prosperous, and just Asia Pacific community by serving as a vigorous hub for cooperative research, education, and dialogue on critical issues of common concern to the Asia Pacific region and the United States. The Center is promoting better relations and understanding among the peoples and nations of Asia, the Pacific, and the U.S. through collaborative, high-quality programs that expand knowledge, address critical policy issues, and build capacity in the region.

Donations to the East-West Center Association Wall of Honor in honor of Seiji Naya will support the EWCA Endowment Fund for Student Scholarships

Make check payable to: East-West Center Foundation
For:  Wall of Honor for Seiji Naya
Wall of Honor Program
East-West Center Foundation
1601 East-West Road
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi 96848-1601

For more information online:


Giving (Option E)

Seiji Naya Fund at the School of Development Economics, Nathional Institute of Development Administration, Thailand

Established by Prof. Dr. Seiji Naya in 2011 in the special occasion that he was awarded the Honorary Doctor of Philosophy in Development Economics from the School of Development Economics (SDE), National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA), THAILAND. This fund supports Ph.D. students in need of financial aid and facilitates the students' research activities at the SDE.

Make check payable to: School of Development Economics,
National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA)
School of Development Economics,
National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA)
118 Serithai Road, Khlongchan, Bangkapi,
Bangkok 10240 THAILAND

For more information:
Tel: +66 2 727 3178
FAX: +66 2 375 8842
Email: econ_dean@nida.ac.th