After making her FIS World Cup debut at the age of 15 in 1992, Tae Satoya soon proved to be a consistent performer on the circuit but had never quite made the breakthrough to the highest level prior to the 1998 Winter Games. After a solid if unspectacular qualifying run in Nagano she produced a much better run in the final and then looked on as her more illustrious rivals failed to match her performance. By winning the moguls event in Nagano she became the first Japanese woman to become a Winter Olympic champion. The following month she won her 1st World Cup event and repeated this feat on home snow in Inawashiro in 1999. However these were her only victories at the highest level. Satoya won another Olympic medal, a bronze, in 2002 to confirm her place as one of Japan’s favourite sportswomen.
In 2005 she was involved in an incident that seriously damaged her popularity in her own country. Satoya was arrested following a brawl in Tokyo nightclub which allegedly started when she was asked to desist having intimate relations with a man on a sofa in the VIP room of the club. She was alleged to have struck the nightclub owner whilst in a drunken rage then threw glasses and kicked tables and chairs. This did immense harm to her reputation and led to a loss of sponsorship and a brief suspension from the national team. She continued to compete but, with the exception of a 4th place finish at the 2009 World Championships, she returned to being a journeywoman on the world scene.