One of the all-time Japanese hockey legends Kihara Seiji recently passed away on the 4th of December. Mr. Seiji’s contributions towards the sport and the hockey fraternity are one for the record books. He represented the Japan National side on numerous occasions and had an extensive and impressive career where he was involved in the 1962 Jakarta 4th Asian Games, 1960 Rome Olympics as well as the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Born in January 1941, Kihara Seiji was not only a stellar athlete, but a collectively a great servant to Japan and global hockey.
Mr. Seiji attended the Sanyo Middle School which served as a breakaway institution where he picked up the hockey stick and started playing hockey at the tender age of just 13 years old. His skill level, tenacity and professionalism is something admired and acknowledged by all and lead future generations of Japan hockey players as a primitive example to follow.
Kihara Seiji then moved on from his days of a player to that of a coach. In his coaching capacity, Mr. Seiji served as the Head Coach for Japan Hockey and represented the country in this capacity at the 1978 8th Bangkok Asian Games as well as the 1994 Hiroshima Asian Games. In the capacity of an administrator, he was also the Head of the Hockey Delegation of the 1998 Bangkok Asian Games where his contributions were greatly admired and appreciated.
He also served as the President of the Hiroshima Hockey Association and was then later elected to serve as the General Secretary of the Japan Hockey Association. To recognize his efforts and contributions in various capacities throughout the years, Kihara Seiji was awarded by the Ministry of Education and Technology in 2004 as well as the Mayor of Hiroshima in 1995 for his valiant and extensive efforts to the sport of hockey.
The Asian Hockey Federation is incredibly saddened to learn of the demise of Mr. Seiji and greatly recognizes his elaborate contributions to Asian and Japan hockey. The President of the Asian Hockey Federation HRH Prince Abdullah Ahmad Shah was deeply saddened regarding Mr. Seiji’s passing away. He expressed gratitude for his services to the sport and courage for Mr. Seiji’s family. The Chief Executive of the Asian Hockey Federation also had the following to say, “Kihara Seiji has been inspirational for many hockey players from Japan and elsewhere. I greatly admire the level of commitment he showed while in his capacity of a player, coach and then administrator and Japan’s position today is because of people like Kihara Seiji who took this game to a level where it is more popular than ever before. It also wouldn’t be a stretch to say that he is truly one of the greats of the game”.