2023/9/23: Los Angeles abstract painter Hideo Sakata who leads international artist group for 50 years, passed at 87: His celebrating life set for Sep. 23 at Northridge United Methodist Church

Hideo Sakata (1935 – 2023)

Nagasaki-born abstract painter in Los Angeles Hideo Sakata passed away on July 30, 2023 at the age of 87. He organized the international artist group Lantern of the East International and held numerous art events not only in Los Angeles but also overseas for near 50 years. He has been seeking to create cross-cultural bridges through artistic expression.

He was survived by his 45 years partner Yuki Sakata, and his three sons and one daughter in his previous marriage.

Celebrating a Life of Creativity and Mentorship of Hideo Sakata, the founder of LELA International art organization will be held on Sep. 23 from 12pm to 4pm at the Northridge United Methodist Church, 9650 Reseda Blvd, Northridge, CA 91324

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Hideo Sakata left us his believe “We can change the world through art”

By Nancy Uyemura, Artist in Los Angeles, member of Lantern of the East Los Angeles

HIDEO SAKATA – Artist and Founder of LELA (Lantern of the East Los Angeles) passed away July 30th, after a long battle with cancer. He was 87.

Sakata-san (as he was known to his friends and colleagues) was an artist, born and raised in Nagasaki, Japan. He was a Hibakusha, meaning he survived the Atomic bomb blast and the ravages of war that devastated the city and country. He did his best to move on with his life and help rebuild the area.

A survivor of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Hideo Sakata believed that art created communities and formed bridges between cultures.

He attended Nagasaki University and taught art to secondary school students. In 1967, Sakata left Japan to live and work in Mexico, but after a short while he moved to Los Angeles, where he had the good fortune to meet Toshio Kawai, an artist teaching in Little Tokyo, and also running a production art company. Kawai recommended Sakata for a job so he was able to get a green card. Sakata was able to continue his art career as he made his home here in Los Angeles. He went on to show his work as well as organize many exhibitions and art festivals both here and abroad.

One of Sakata’s life-long dreams has been to use art as a tool to communicate love, peace and harmony. His work of promoting his ideas materialized in LELA, Lantern of the East. Sakata, together with three other artists, Lee Kye Song from Korea, P. Kemraje from India, and Yoko Kamijo from Japan founded LELA. For almost 50 years Hideo Sakata and a dedicated group of artists and community supporters created events promoting  intercultural understanding and exchange through Art. Many of the Art Festivals have included art camps, where local members of the community come and interact and make art with artists from all over the world.

However the driving force behind all this was Sakata himself and it was his personal interaction with each individual and a heart to heart, face to face communication that he would always initiate.

“He loved to sit at Starbucks and chat,” said artist Susan Karhroody, who sketched this portrait of Hideo Sakata. The two worked closely together at LELA International, an organization that seeks to create cross-cultural bridges through artistic expression. “He kept saying it was not a time to die,” an emotional Karhroody said of Sakata. “He had so many projects he was still working on. He dedicated his whole life to his art.”

Sakata-san asked, “How can we bring change to this world? I believe we can achieve this through art. Art can heal people’s hearts. It can bridge the cultural gap that exists and bring people together under one banner – mutual understanding. Through art, each and every one of us can express our soul.”

Sakata’s vision, that through Art and Education we can build bridges connecting each individual – heart to heart – and bring peace to our planet. He dedicated his life to make this vision come true.

Up until a few days before his death, he continued to paint. He was strong, a gifted artist and amazing person, he will be missed. Sakata was an inspiration to many and we were blessed to have had such a driving force in the Art community here in Los Angeles for so many years.