EWEB’s Royden Muranaka

EWEB Sales Manager Royden Muranaka was born in Waimea and raised in Kekaha, southwest Kaua‘i, the son of nisei (second-generation) parents. Kekaha was a sugar plantation town, with virtually everything revolving around the plantation. Back then, the town was small, about 1,500 people. Muranaka knew most everybody.

“People used to joke that there were actually more dogs and chickens than people,” Muranaka says. “My father worked for the plantation as a welder and my mom worked at the hospital clinic. I guess we lived and grew up as simple, ordinary people.”

Yet, this simple lifestyle was to prepare him for a life as an international traveler.

Royden attended the University of Hawai`i, ultimately attaining a BBA in business in 1982. He didn’t waste any time finding his calling—he signed on with University of Hawai‘i Press in 1983 as office manager of East-West Export Books (EWEB), managing the day-to-day operation of the Press’ international marketing arm. In 1988, when Bill Hamilton became director and reorganized the Press’ marketing functions, Bill immediately appointed Royden EWEB Manager. Since 1994, he has also doubled as Domestic Sales Manager.

Royden is a sports nut and loves playing, watching, and talking story about sports—baseball, football, basketball, bowling, and swimming. At Waimea High School he lettered in football, basketball, and baseball. The Pittsburgh Steelers are his favorite NFL team.

Shoreline fishing is a favorite pastime: among his catches are päpio (young ulua, a jack) and moi (a threadfish), both good to eat, and the occasional shark.

Growing up in Hawai‘i as a sansei (third-generation Japanese American) undoubtedly contributed substantially to Royden’s success at EWEB. The very characteristics needed on the road—patience, humility, tolerance, and a willingness to work hard—are those also valued in Hawai`i, and Royden’s Japanese grandparents and nisei parents certainly imparted to him aspects of the Japanese culture so helpful to doing business in that country.

And so it was that the little plantation town of Kekaha on Kaua‘i in the Hawaiian Islands, where there were more dogs and chickens than people, produced a local boy who has become an international entrepreneur.