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Jean King

Jean King
Jean King.jpg
6th Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii
In office
December 2, 1978 – December 2, 1982
GovernorGeorge Ariyoshi
Preceded byNelson Doi
Succeeded byJohn D. Waiheʻe III
Member of the Hawaii Senate
In office
Member of the Hawaii House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Jean Sadako McKillop

(1925-12-06)December 6, 1925
Honolulu, Territory of Hawaii, U.S.
DiedNovember 24, 2013(2013-11-24) (aged 87)
Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic

Jean Sadako King, née McKillop (December 6, 1925 – November 24, 2013) was the sixth lieutenant governor of Hawaii, the state's first woman to be elected as such, from 1978 to 1982[1][2] in the administration of Governor George Ariyoshi.


Jean Sadako King was the daughter of William Donald McKillop and Chiyo Murakami McKillop. They married in the early 1920s. Her father, William Donald McKillop, was a postmaster of Scottish descent, whereas her mother, Chiyo Murakami Mckillop, was Japanese. Chiyo came from a family of coffee farmers in Kona.[3][4] King's parents' interracial relationship was not common during that era. The couple settled in an area near Piikoi and Beretania in Honolulu, where King was born and raised.[5] Later, King married James A. King and had a son and a daughter.[4]


King moved around throughout her years in primary school, having attended Likelike School, Aliiolani School, and the English Standard School.[5] During her years in high school, she graduated as valedictorian at the Sacred Hearts Academy.[3] King participated in various after-school activities while attending the Sacred Hearts Academy and was involved in Japanese dancing, tap, hula, and typing and shorthand lessons.[5] For her years in college, King was enrolled in the University of Hawaii, graduating with a B.A. in English by 1948.[3] As an undergraduate student, she worked as a class assistant in a psychology lab, tutored English for a sports team, and served as a class officer. She was the co-editor for Ka Leo, which was the school newspaper in the University of Hawaii. Aside from King's academic strides, she won two pageants, taking the crown for Ka Palalpala Cosmopolitan Beauty Queen and Relay Rainbow Queen.[5] After obtaining her B.A. from the University of Hawaii, King went for an M.A. in history at New York University. Then years later, King went back to the University of Hawaii for another master's. By 1968, King obtained her M.F.A. in theatre and drama.[3] Her second master's thesis was putting together a production for a play, and she chose to base it on a play by Miyamato Ken about the Japanese anti-war.[5]

Political career

Before King served in the Hawaii House of Representatives from 1972 to 1974 and the Hawaii Senate from 1974 to 1978. She was a candidate in the Hawai'i Constitutional Convention of 1950, [3] then pursued the position of Lieutenant Governor of Hawai'i.[2] In 1982, King was defeated in the Democratic primary election for Governor and retired from politics.[2][6]

King's parents supported the Republican Party, but King wanted to push for more people to join the Democratic Party. She felt that the philosophy of the Democratic Party would be of more interest in Hawaii's population of diverse ethnic backgrounds. While strongly encouraging the public to be more involved with the politics, King was able to make laws pass that allowed the public to attend the meetings of government officials.[4]

Death and legacy

According to her granddaughter, King died at age 87 from pancreatic cancer on November 24, 2013.[7] With the effort and strides that King made, she had been an influence for more women to run for political positions in Hawaii. Senator Mazie Hirono was one of the women who admired King and remembered her with "As the first person elected to the office of lieutenant governor, Jean helped paved the way for women, such as myself."[8] Colleen Hanabusa recognized King as a female role model.[8] In March 2016, Hawaiʻi Magazine ranked King in a list of the most influential women in Hawaiian history.[9]

See also


  1. ^ Search via Google Books
  2. ^ a b c Schultz, Jeffrey D. (2000). Encyclopedia of Minorities in American Politics: African Americans and Asian Americans. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 295. ISBN 1-57356-148-7.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Jean Sadako King | Densho Encyclopedia". Retrieved 2017-03-07.
  4. ^ a b c Ng, Franklin (1995). The Asian American Encyclopedia. Marshall Cavendish Corporation. pp. 829–830.
  5. ^ a b c d e Nakanishi, Don T. (2002). Distinguished Asian American Political and Governmental Leaders. Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc. pp. 81-83. ISBN 1573563250.
  6. ^ "Former Hawaii Lt. Gov. Jean King dies at age 87". 2013-11-25. Retrieved 2013-11-29.
  7. ^ Hawaii's first female lieutenant governor, Jean King, dies in Honolulu at age 87,; accessed December 26, 2013. Archived December 2, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ a b "Former Hawaii Lt. Gov. King dies at 87". The Rafu Shimpo Los Angeles Japanese Daily News. November 26, 2013. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  9. ^ Dekneef, Matthew (March 9, 2016). "14 extraordinary women in Hawaii history everyone should know". Hawaiʻi Magazine. Honolulu. Retrieved March 9, 2016.
Political offices
Preceded by
Nelson Doi
Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii
1978 - 1982
Succeeded by
John D. Waiheʻe III

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