RIP Kyoko Kita – Denver’s Japanese community loses a cultural giant

the late kyoko kita, who taught many japanese cultural arts for decades in denver

Tonight Erin and I heard some sad and shocking news. Kyoko Kita, a sensei, or teacher, of almost any traditional Japanese art or cultural tradition, died this morning of a massive heart attack while driving her sister and cousin back to Denver International Airport for their return to Japan. When she felt chest pains, Kita Sensei pulled off I-70 and saved her guests’ lives before dying.

It’s a symbolically fitting, though incredibly sad, end to a rich and incredibly influential life.

Erin and I had just seen her a couple of months ago, at an event at the Consul General’s home, where she demonstrated a traditional tea ceremony for invited guests, outside in the Consul General’s backyard. She exuded the same wisdom and steady, peaceful happiness she’d shared for decades with the entire Japanese community — with anyone interested in Japanese culture.

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