(J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo)

TORRANCE — Yoshiko “Yo” Hanaoka, a resident of Clearwater at South Bay in Torrance, celebrated her 100th birthday on Aug. 15 with help from friends and family — at a distance.

Well-wishers holding banners and balloons, including Hanaoka’s son, gathered outside the assisted living facility as Hanaoka, wearing a tiara for the occasion, waved from her second-floor room. A Torrance Fire Department fire engine also showed up for the celebration.

Yoshiko Hanaoka (Courtesy Clearwater South Bay)

Clearwater staff members taking part included Sales Director Terese Campbell and Lifestyle Director Brittney Perez.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the celebrants had to remain outside. A card for the “birthday girl” was signed by everyone.

Hanaoka was born on Aug. 15, 1920 in Los Angeles. When she was young, her family moved to Imperial Valley, where her father was a farmer. 

She was married to Walter Hanaoka for 48 years and has two children, Stanley and Linda, five grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. 

Hanaoka has traveled the world with her sisters, visiting Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Europe and many other places. Bowling has been her passion for over 40 years, and until recently she would bowl with her friends every Friday. She also loves sewing and flowers. 

“Yo is always ‘busy playing’ and will continue to do so as she celebrates her 100th birthday,” said a Clearwater representative.

(J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo)


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