Emiko Oku Takemoto has come to live with us at Caring House. We are honored.
Emiko was born in Osaka, Japan, the third child of to Kumakichi and Shizuko Oku. Growing up in Osaka and then Nagata-mura in Wakayama prefecture, she attended Wakayama Kenritsu Kokawa High School in Kokawa city. A bright student, she was top of her class.
Early on, however, her life took a tragic turn and became very challenging for her. Both her parents passed away only one year apart in 1939 and 1940, her father from strokes and her mother from dysentery. Suddenly an orphan at 13 years old, she was taken in by her aunt in Wakayama prefecture’s Nagata city, who sadly abused and neglected her.
When she turned 20, she decided to leave Japan for Los Angeles, to join her two older brothers from whom she had become separated due to World War II. They had both been born in Los Angeles and were both US citizens. Living with her oldest brother, she attended Polytechnic High School in Los Angeles, and subsequently LA City College, where she received her AA degree. To make ends meet during her time of schooling, she took care of a boy at his home. She also worked as a seamstress in the Los Angeles clothing industry for a time. Eventually she qualified as an accountant, and worked in that capacity from 1955 through 1964.
After initially struggling to assimilate in Los Angeles, things got much easier after she met her husband, Ted Takemoto, with whom she ended up living a full and happy life, raising their daughter. A mutual friend had set up a blind date for them, and after dating for about one year they married in April 1955, making their home south of USC.
Ted first worked as an electrical technician, but with the help of Emiko, who supported him by working as an accountant for the State Controller while he studied at UCLA, he became an electrical engineer at age 42. When in 1964 their daughter June was born, Emiko quit her job. Soon afterwards, in 1965, Emiko and Ted bought a house in Monterey Park, where the family moved and they raised their child.
After becoming empty nesters, Emiko and Ted often traveled to Japan, and in 1994 moved to Torrance to help with their granddaughter, Kristen Kobayashi.
When Ted passed away in 2001, Emiko again struggled to stay happy and healthy. By 2004, having become too isolated, her family encouraged her to live at the Keiro Retirement Community in downtown Los Angeles, where she lived until 2015. By that time her health had declined and she required more assistance, so she moved to the Gardena Kei Ai Nursing Home. She stayed there until she had a stroke the first week of November 2019, and is now living comfortably at Caring House.
Emiko enjoys her family and caring for her granddaughter. She also loves sewing and knitting, not only making lots of knitted sweaters, blankets and stuffed animals, but also clothing for the family.
We are glad Emiko is with us at Caring House. We look forward to caring for this strong, kind and generous woman.
Emiko died on November 19, 2019. Honor her. Remember her.