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Satomi Carol Okamoto: Personal History

by on March 26, 2011

Satomi Carol Okamoto was born December 25th, 1967 in Los Angeles, California to Osami and Tatsuko Enomoto.  The family lived in a house on Berendo Street and Olympic near what is now Koreatown.  Satomi was raised in a household of four children and surrounded by numerous cousins, relatives and close family friends.

Satomi attended Colfax Charter Elementary, Walter Reed Middle school and graduated from North Hollywood High School in 1986.  Upon receiving a full scholarship to the University of Southern California (USC), she graduated with a bachelors degree in Exercise Science.

Unsure about her choice in profession, Satomi delayed entry into graduate school until she could gain some work experience.  Fate led her to Yonemoto Physical Therapy and she found her calling.

In 1994, Satomi graduated from California State University at Long Beach with a second bachelor’s degree in Physical Therapy.  A year later she was a licensed therapist specializing in stroke recovery and other neurological disorders working at Tustin Rehabilitation Hospital.  She worked there for nearly 15 years, ultimately attaining a supervisory role in their outpatient department and wheelchair clinic.  She loved her work and her patients.

Satomi was proud of her heritage and had been active in the Los Angeles Japanese American community her entire life.  She was trained in the art of Odori, traditional Japanese dance, since the age of three.  In 1996, she received her Natori, or professional title, signifying achievement of the highest skill level.  She used the name “Hanayagi Tokusatomi” to pay homage to her esteemed instructor “Hanayagi Tokuyae”.

In May of 2002, Satomi married Sean Okamoto.  She met Sean in a community service group called the Nikkei Bridge based in Los Angeles.  They had worked closely together as leaders within the group which ultimately led to their relationship and marriage.  The friends they made there remain close to them today.

Kandice Mina was born in June of 2004 followed by Jillian Mika in May of 2006.  The family made their home in Orange, California and was very happy.

Satomi courageously fought the cancer since her initial diagnosis in September of 2007.  All the while she remained active raising her children-attending their school plays, watching their swim lessons and basketball practices, and helping them with homework.  She was very happy to see them grow into beautiful little girls.

Satomi passed away on March 14th at her home in Orange surrounded by loving family.  She is survived by her mother-Tatsuko Enomoto, husband-Sean, two daughters-Kandice and Jillian, two sisters-Hiromi and Kiyomi-and their families, brother-Isao, and countless friends.

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