Keiko Kay (Tadamatsu) Hirai
Keiko Kay (Tadamatsu) Hirai

Terror, fear and near- starvation are among the childhood memories of living in wartime Japan by Keiko Kay (Tadamatsu) Hirai. These painful and unforgettable experiences will be recalled by Mercer Island business woman and entrepreneur, Kay Hirai, at the July 16, Saturday Omoide (Memories) monthly public program sponsored by the Japanese Cultural and Community Center (JCCCW).

Ms. Hirai published her World War 2 memoirs, “Keiko’s Journey” in November, 2015. Several excerpts from her book will be presented in a dramatic reading by members of her Omoide writing group at the Saturday program. The event starts at 1 pm at the JCCCW building, 1414 South Weller Street.

Born of an American- born mother and a Japanese National, Ms. Hirai spent her early childhood in Japan.  She came to America with her mother when she was 11-years-old. Starting in the fifth grade, she faced further challenges, unable to write or speak English. Her artistic ability provided the first step in her acceptance to her new life.

In 1976, Ms. Hirai started her first beauty salon, as a young mother with two children and without any previous business experience. She currently owns Studio 904 in Mercer Island. Her innovative business management and employee training methods led to her selection of “National Minority Entrepreneur of the Year” in 2004.

Ms. Hirai also published a book about her love for animals. The book raised $6,000 for Posado’s Safe Haven animal sanctuary program. She served on national and state wide councils to help low income women, youth and children to gain skills to enter competitive employment.

Following the dramatic reading, the regular Omoide writing workshop will begin at 2 pm. The public is invited to the program and writing workshop. There is no charge. Information is available by contacting [email protected].

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