David Ige is the grandson of two Japanese immigrants who left their famine-ravaged homeland of southern Japan for new lives across the Pacific Ocean. Tokio Ige, David’s grandfather, worked as a steel worker on construction projects before passing away in 1968.
Kumagai immediately thought of Ige when Governor George Ariyoshi asked him to compile a shortlist of potential appointees for Arnold Morgado’s seat.
Early Life and Education
David Kumagai was born into a family of immigrants who fled Japan’s southern famine-ridden region for Hawaii, leaving Tokio working steel on construction projects and Tsurue working as a dental hygienist respectively. Although financially hard hit, their hard work paid off. Not only were they parents of six boys but their dedication also produced some of the finest teachers possible – notably Tokio’s father being particularly responsive to David’s budding political ambitions.
David Kumagai has over three decades of legal experience. As an attorney, he serves as counsel to major music and publishing companies, medical device manufacturers, sports organizations and technology firms on copyright-related matters. David is an active pro bono practitioner, receiving numerous awards for his advocacy work on behalf of the arts. Additionally, he represents multinational corporations in major securities litigation and enforcement cases and white collar criminal defense matters. At the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mr. Williams serves on their Enforcement Division where he represents many of the world’s largest companies in investigations and regulatory actions. A frequent speaker on securities law issues, he was recognized by Chambers USA as a Top Rated Lawyer in Securities and Corporate Finance law.
Achievement and Honors
David Kumagai has received many honors and awards. Known in science for numerous innovations that have benefited humanity at large, his name was recently honored with a $52,000 pre-doctoral fellowship from the American Heart Association. Grant will allow him to investigate epigenetic regulation of gene expression by Trypanosoma cruzi, the parasite responsible for Chagas disease in South and Central America. This award includes a generous stipend to assist with his research of Escherichia coli K-12’s gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase enzyme. Receiving his award during a ceremony topped by champagne bottles is one of his greatest treasures.
David Kumagai has an extensive background in creative writing. Currently he teaches English at the University of Tokyo for five years, as well as serving on its Board of Directors and as president for five years.
Keith Hiraoka of Pearl City High School approached him and asked if he’d consider running for Congress as an electrical engineer supervising electrical design projects. Hiraoka responded in the affirmative but advised against taking time off work to look into it further. On November 26th 1985 he met Governor Ariyoshi to sign his party card. Later that same week, he was appointed representative for Pearl City district until July 1, 1997 when he retired due to health reasons.