March 31, 1924 — May 8, 2021
Motoko Sumi-Saneto was born March 31, 1924 in Los Angeles, Calif. She spent her early childhood in Tottori-ken, Japan before rejoining her family in California. Motoko excelled academically and has been recognized for her talented written and artistic craft.
After returning to Los Angeles in 1936, Motoko resumed her studies and completed high school. Growing up around nurseries and a family of gardeners, she naturally developed a green thumb. Her gift with plants later developed into mastery of ikebana.
She and her family were incarcerated at Gila River (Arizona) and Tule Lake (California) Concentration camps during World War II. They then relocated back in Los Angeles.
Motoko was most proud of her recognition as a Sanyo ikebana master. She served as the head master of the Shofu Kadokai School of Ikebana and president of the Kado Kyoju Kai Ikebana Teachers’ Guild. She shared her gift through lessons at the West L.A. Buddhist Temple, Beverly Hills Adult School and at her home.
In 1964, Motoko married Tsukasa Saneto and had two children, Dana and Kristine Harumi. She is survived by son, Dana (Ann) Saneto; daughter, Kristine Harumi (Glenn) Kawaguchi; and grandsons, Justin and Carter Kawaguchi.
Motoko was loved deeply by her family, friends and students. A gentle, but strong presence, she embodied a grace and compassion well remembered by those around her.
She always had room for dessert and would tell you how it really is. She was as resilient as she was caring and instilled in her family a steadfast work ethic and commitment to service.
Motoko Sumi-Saneto passed away peacefully on May 8, 2021, surrounded by family in Los Angeles, California. A private service was held on Saturday, May 22 at Senshin Buddhist Temple in Los Angeles.