Kyoko Ishimura is the diminutive Japanese housekeeper of the Dakota apartment kept by Aloysius Pendergast.
Deaf and mute, Miss Ishimura is a small and petite woman of unknown age whose first language is Japanese, although she understands English well. Her tasks for Pendergast include cooking and cleaning. Among her specialties are fish intestine soup and Pendergast favorites mozuku (a slimy seaweed dish) and shiokara (a paste of fermented, salted fish meat and organs). Pendergast seems to have hired her because her physical handicaps fit well with his intense need for privacy. She resides in her own set of rooms within the Dakota apartment.
She communicates with Pendergast using hand-written notes and occasionally simply by mouthing words, typically in Japanese. She is also a skilled lip-reader.Miss Ishimura appears to genuinely care about her employer, growing increasingly concerned for Pendergast's health when he returned unexpectedly from a trip and stopped eating, spending all of his time wandering the apartment in a stupor and taking powerful narcotics in disturbing quantities. Despite specific orders to the contrary, she finally picked up the phone when a similarly worried Vincent D'Agosta called, emphatically insisting that Pendergast take the call, and defeatedly hanging up after Pendergast dismissed D'Agosta's concern.