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On April 10, 2020, Kinya Sakamoto passed away peacefully at home in his sleep at the age
of 96. He was born near Bakersfield, California on June 11, 1923 to Takekichi Sakamoto and Wakayo Tanaka.
He spent his youth in Bakersfield and graduated from Kern County Union High School in 1941. After high school graduation, he attended Bakersfield College until he and his family were evacuated and interned in Poston, AZ during World War II. He was drafted into the Army and attended Military Intelligence Service Language School at Fort Snelling in St. Paul, MN.
Upon returning to Bakersfield after the war, he worked odd jobs until he decided upon gardening as his occupation, working for over 50 years before retiring. In 1958, along with Dr. Young, started the Bakersfield Judo Club. He continued to teach, always wanting to help improve his student’s judo skills. He eventually attained the rank of 8th dan after his many years of teaching.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife of 62 years, Masaye Kubotsu, infant son Kent Ryan Sakamoto and his three sisters, Sayoko Sogo, Mariko Kinoshita and Ruriko (Lily) Itokazu. He is survived by his sons, Kirk Sakamoto (Kathi) and Brett Sakamoto, grandchildren Kristen Sakamoto, Kent Sakamoto (Jeneé), Ethan Sakamoto and Cade Sakamoto and great-grandchild Kayla Sakamoto.
A private ceremony will be held at Union Cemetery. A Memorial service and Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.
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