Culture

Famous Artists from Japan

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Updated August 30, 2019 99.7k views 627 items

This list of popular Japanese artists includes biographical information and photos. For centuries, artists have been among the world's most important people, helping chronicle history and keep us entertained with one of the earliest forms of expression. 

Whether they're known for painting, sculpting, etching, or drawing, the famous Japanese artists on this list have kept that tradition alive by creating renowned pieces of art that have been praised around the world. You can find useful information below about these notable Japanese artists, such as when they were born and their place of birth.

Among the most well known Japanese artists are "Superflat" movement founder Takashi Murakami and psychedelic-style infinity room creator Yayoi Kusama. Perhaps the best  known Japanese woman artist is Yoko Ono, a multimedia artist, activist, and widow of former Beatle John Lennon. Other Japanese artist examples include Nobuyoshi Araki and Kou Yaginuma.

For further information on these historic artists from Japan, click on their names. If you're a fine art lover, use this list of celebrated Japanese artists to discover new work that you will enjoy. Make sure to also check out famous artists from South Korea and famous artists from Singapore.

1
Yoko Ono is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Famous Artists from Japan
Play it by Trust, My Mommy is Beautiful

Birthplace: East Asia, Tokyo, Asia, Japan

Nationality: Japan

Yoko Ono (Japanese: 小野 洋子, romanized: Ono Yōko, usually spelled in katakana オノ・ヨーコ; born February 18, 1933) is a Japanese-American multimedia artist, singer, songwriter and peace activist. Her ...more

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2
Hiroshi Sasagawa is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Famous Artists from Japan
Hiroshi Sasagawa

Birthplace: Aizuwakamatsu, Japan

Nationality: Japan

Hiroshi Sasagawa (笹川 ひろし, Sasagawa Hiroshi, born July 9, 1936) is a creator of several anime and manga series. His name is romanized in some sources as Hiroshi Sasakawa.
3
Yayoi Kusama is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Famous Artists from Japan
No. F, Ascension of Polka Dots, No. IZ

Birthplace: Matsumoto, Japan

Nationality: Japan

Art Forms: Sculpture, Installation art, Painting, Drawing

Yayoi Kusama (草間 彌生, Kusama Yayoi, born 22 March 1929) is a Japanese contemporary artist who works primarily in sculpture and installation, but is also active in painting, performance, film, ...more
4
Osamu Tezuka is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Famous Artists from Japan
Osamu Tezuka

Birthplace: Toyonaka, Japan

Nationality: Japan

Osamu Tezuka (Japanese: 手塚 治虫, born 手塚 治, Hepburn: Tezuka Osamu, (1928-11-03)3 November 1928 – 9 February 1989) was a Japanese manga artist, cartoonist, animator, and film producer. Born in ...more
5
Takashi Murakami is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Famous Artists from Japan
727

Birthplace: Itabashi, Tokyo, Japan

Nationality: Japan

Art Forms: Sculpture, Painting

Takashi Murakami (村上 隆, Murakami Takashi, born February 1, 1962) is a Japanese contemporary artist. He works in fine arts media (such as painting and sculpture) as well as commercial media (such ...more
6
Leiji Matsumoto is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Famous Artists from Japan

Birthplace: Kurume, Japan

Nationality: Japan

Leiji Matsumoto (松本零士, Matsumoto Reiji, born Akira Matsumoto 松本晟, January 25, 1938 in Kurume, Fukuoka, Japan) is a well-known creator of several anime and manga series. His wife Miyako Maki is ...more
7
Namio Harukawa is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Famous Artists from Japan

Birthplace: Osaka, Japan

Nationality: Japan

Namio Harukawa is a Japanese artist known for his realistic femdom erotica drawings. He created around one thousand unique drawings. Harukawa's artwork features voluptuous women with large ...more
8
Kazuo Koike is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Famous Artists from Japan

Birthplace: Akita Prefecture, Daisen, East Asia, Honshu, Asia, + more

Nationality: Japan

Kazuo Koike (小池 一夫, Koike Kazuo, May 8, 1936 – April 17, 2019) was a prolific Japanese manga writer (gensakusha), novelist and entrepreneur.
9
Yu Watase is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Famous Artists from Japan

Birthplace: Osaka, Japan

Nationality: Japan

Yuu Watase (渡瀬 悠宇, Watase Yuu, born March 5, 1970, in Kishiwada, Osaka) is a Japanese shōjo manga artist. Watase received the Shogakukan Manga Award for shōjo for Ceres, Celestial Legend in ...more
10
Katsuhiro Otomo is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Famous Artists from Japan

Birthplace: Tome, Japan

Nationality: Japan

Art Forms: Manga

Katsuhiro Otomo (大友 克洋, Ōtomo Katsuhiro, born April 14, 1954) is a Japanese manga artist, screenwriter and film director. He is best known as the creator of the manga Akira and its animated film ...more
11
Makoto Raiku is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Famous Artists from Japan

Birthplace: Gifu, Japan

Nationality: Japan

Makoto Raiku (雷句誠, Raiku Makoto, born 23 August 1974 in Gifu, Japan) is a manga artist whose works have appeared prominently in Shogakukan's publication Weekly Shōnen Sunday. Starting off an ...more
12
Nobuyoshi Araki is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Famous Artists from Japan
Untitled [Reticulated image of Buildings], [Nude Woman holding Bottle] from the series Pseudo-Reportage, Untitled [Young Woman in Elevator]

Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan

Nationality: Japan

Nobuyoshi Araki (荒木 経惟, Araki Nobuyoshi, May 25, 1940) is a Japanese photographer and contemporary artist. He is also known by the nickname Arākī (アラーキー). Araki has published over 500 books. He ...more
13
Tatsuo Yoshida is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Famous Artists from Japan

Birthplace: Kyoto, Keihanshin, Japan

Nationality: Japan

Tatsuo Yoshida (吉田 竜夫, Yoshida Tatsuo, March 6, 1932 – September 5, 1977) was a Japanese cartoonist, writer, mangaka and anime pioneer who founded the anime studio Tatsunoko Productions.
14
Gosho Aoyama is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Famous Artists from Japan

Birthplace: Hokuei, Tottori, Japan

Nationality: Japan

Gosho Aoyama (青山 剛昌, Aoyama Gōshō, born June 21, 1963) is a Japanese manga artist best known as the creator of the manga series Detective Conan (known in the United States, Canada and the United ...more
15
Hiro Mashima is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Famous Artists from Japan

Birthplace: Nagano, Japan

Nationality: Japan

Hiro Mashima (真島 ヒロ, Mashima Hiro, born May 3, 1977) is a Japanese manga artist. He gained success with his first serial Rave Master, published in Kodansha's Weekly Shōnen Magazine from 1999 to ...more
16
Kazuki Takahashi is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Famous Artists from Japan
Kazuki Takahashi

Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan

Nationality: Japan

Kazuki Takahashi (高橋 和希, Takahashi Kazuki, also known as Kazuo Takahashi (高橋 一雅, Takahashi Kazuo), born October 4, 1961) is a Japanese manga artist and game creator, best known for creating
17
Yoshitomo Nara is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Famous Artists from Japan
Light My Fire

Birthplace: Hirosaki, Japan

Nationality: Japan

Art Forms: Sculpture, Painting

Yoshitomo Nara (奈良 美智, Nara Yoshitomo, born 5 December 1959 in Hirosaki, Aomori Prefecture, Japan) is a Japanese artist. He lives and works in Tokyo, though his artwork has been exhibited ...more
18
Yoshitaka Amano is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Famous Artists from Japan

Birthplace: Chūbu region, East Asia, Honshu, Shizuoka, Shizuoka Prefecture, + more

Nationality: Japan

Art Forms: Sculpture, Painting, Printmaking

Yoshitaka Amano (天野 喜孝 (formerly 天野 嘉孝), born March 26, 1952) is a Japanese artist, character designer, illustrator and a theatre and film scenic designer and costume designer. He first came ...more
19
Shotaro Ishinomori is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Famous Artists from Japan

Birthplace: Tome, Japan

Nationality: Japan

Shotaro Ishinomori (石ノ森 章太郎, Ishinomori Shōtarō, 25 January 1938 – 28 January 1998) was a Japanese manga artist who became an influential figure in manga, anime, and tokusatsu, creating several ...more
20
Masashi Kishimoto is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Famous Artists from Japan

Birthplace: Okayama Prefecture, East Asia, Honshu, Asia, Japan, + more

Nationality: Japan

Masashi Kishimoto (岸本 斉史, Kishimoto Masashi, born November 8, 1974) is a Japanese manga artist, well known for creating the manga series Naruto which was in serialization from 1999 to 2014. As ...more
21
Shūji Terayama is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Famous Artists from Japan

Birthplace: Aomori Prefecture, East Asia, Honshu, Hirosaki, Asia, + more

Nationality: Japan

Shūji Terayama (寺山 修司, Terayama Shūji, December 10, 1935 – May 4, 1983) was an avant-garde Japanese poet, dramatist, writer, film director, and photographer. Many critics view him as one of the ...more
22
Akira Toriyama is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Famous Artists from Japan

Birthplace: Nagoya, Japan

Nationality: Japan

Akira Toriyama (鳥山 明, Toriyama Akira, born April 5, 1955) is a Japanese manga artist, game artist and character designer. He first achieved mainstream recognition for his highly successful manga ...more
23
Masami Kurumada is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Famous Artists from Japan

Birthplace: East Asia, Tokyo, Asia, Japan

Nationality: Japan

Masami Kurumada (車田 正美, Kurumada Masami, born December 6, 1953) is a Japanese manga artist and writer, known for specializing in fighting manga featuring bishōnen and magical boy. He is the ...more
24
Rumiko Takahashi is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Famous Artists from Japan

Birthplace: Niigata, Japan

Nationality: Japan

Rumiko Takahashi (高橋 留美子, Takahashi Rumiko, born October 10, 1957) is a Japanese manga artist. With a career of several commercially successful works, beginning with Urusei Yatsura in 1978, ...more
25
Hiroshi Takahashi is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Famous Artists from Japan

Birthplace: Aizubange, Japan

Nationality: Japan

Hiroshi Takahashi (高橋 ヒロシ, Takahashi Hiroshi, born 12 December 1965) is a Japanese manga artist.