Kimi Hatano Erickson died in Seattle, Washington at age 94. Kimi was born in Kyoto, Japan on December 26, 1925 to Manjirou Hatano and Toki Inoue. She lead a full and rewarding life. Her parents story was a romance, her mother was to marry a much older man, arranged by her parents. Instead, Toki defied her parents and eloped with Manjirou Hatano and found her happiness with him. Kimi, the oldest and the apple of her father's eye was raised to believe she could do anything. She completed a college degree in teaching during WWII, studying under blankets with flashlights.
With the end of WWII came the American occupation of Japan. She was one of few who had some English language skills and entered the steno pool for the American Army. She met a young Army Captain named Roy Erickson and the rest is history. Their romance lasted 6 months until he had to return to the USA to complete his education at Harvard Law School. They applied to both governments to be allowed to marry as it was not permitted so soon after the war. Roy prevailed on a fraternity brother, Congressman Jack Kennedy, to sponsor a Bill for Kimi to be allowed into the USA. Two years later, she packed up her wedding dress and made the long journey from Kyoto, Japan to Cincinnati, Ohio to marry Roy on August 26, 1951. Those first years were difficult ones for Kimi but she persevered.
They went on to have 3 daughters, Jean who died in 1961 from Leukemia, Meredith and Marcia.
Kimi lost Roy to cancer in 1982. Writing poetry was her solace. She had been actively writing and publishing Japanese Tanka poetry and belonged to various poetry groups including the Cho On, the oldest and most highly regarded poetry groups in Japan, since the 1960's. In 1993 she focused her energies to developing her own poetry group, Cascade Tanka Kai. She proudly led the group until 2018 when she had a stroke and could no longer hold up to the rigor of leading her poetry group. She taught her students well and they published their poems every month in the local Japanese paper. The Cho On sponsored an international convention every 4 years in different countries. In 2006 they had a meeting in Hokkaido, Japan and presented her with a National Treasure Award for her high level of accomplishments in poetry. Her greatest wish was to give something back and be able to say she was useful in her life.
Kimi also enjoyed travel, cooking, good wine and shopping. Her daughter, Meredith also has the travel bug. The two of them traveled during the 80's, 90's and 2000's to many beautiful places, including her former country, Japan. They traveled to Thailand, Hong Kong, Tahiti, Hawaii, Mexico and to a ski house in Whistler, Canada. They rode elephants, tuk tuks, gondolas and boats while enjoying the local cuisine everywhere they traveled.
Kimi is survived by her daughters Marcia and her husband Greg and Meredith and her husband Jim. She is also survived by her granddaughter, Chloe and her husband Nick and great grandsons Dylan and Andrew. She is survived by her brother Hiroshi & his wife Yoshiko - their children Toshio & his wife Miyako, Yoshio & his wife Mayumi and Tadashi & his wife Yumiko.
Kimi's family would like to thank the Aegis at Ravenna community for the kindness and first class care they gave Kimi during her last year with us.
Published in The Seattle Times on Jun. 30, 2020.