From the Dec. 10, 1992, issue of The Southern:
"Those who were closest to 25-year-old Kimiko Ajioka, a Southern Illinois University at Carbondale student who died in the fire Sunday at The Pyramids apartment complex, say she represented the spirit of a Japanese saying, 'Hakoi-ri-Musume.'
"The phrase means 'a well-kept treasure.'
"Kimiko, from Osaka, Japan, was one of five SIUC students killed in the fire early Sunday. Kimiko's mother, Reiko, and her four brothers and sisters were together in Southern Illinois Wednesday to make funeral arrangements and to establish a memorial fund in her name.
"Many other families of the international students killed or injured in the fire are making their way to Carbondale this week. The International Student Association is making arrangements for the relatives to stay with families in Carbondale, rather than in hotels.
"When deciding to study in America four years ago, Kimiko knew she would have plenty of support when attending SIUC. Her aunt, Masako Shin, lives in Herrin, and her uncle, Yutaka Toyota, lives in Chicago. Both are SIUC graduates and helped ease her transition from Japan to Carbondale.
"'In the last two years, she often told me that her four years here had been one of the happiest times of her life,' said Shin. 'She was a very traditional Japanese young girl. She loved the fresh air of Carbondale, and she was free to think, free to speak, more so than in Japan.'
"Kimiko was a traditional Japanese dancer, a very intricate and formal type of dance similar to ballet. She had taken three lessons a week for many years as a child to learn the art."
— Brian Mattmiller, The Southern, Dec. 10, 1992