Skip to content Skip to footer


Biography of Kiiko Nakahara

 She was born in Japan almost simultaneously with the end of WWII. From elementary school, she impressed her entourage with her precocious skills in painting. Right when she was graduating from college, she was noticed by Junichi Nakahara (1913-1983), who is considered the godfather of Manga/Anime art. Kiiko became Junichi Nakahara’s only ever apprentice and his daughter in law. Kiiko Nakahara then went on a career as an artist, illustrator, dress and costume designer. She moved out of Japan in 1993 and has lived in Hawaii since 2000. Junichi Nakahara, who was himself inspired by Yumeji Takehisa (1884-1934), painted young, pure, innocent, cute girls. But Kiiko is painting adult women sheared from the inside through the eyes of a woman. And after living outside Japan for around 30 years, she could capture the sensuality and the beauty of the Japanese woman more clearly than when she lived in Japan. Critics who know Kiiko Nakahara assert that she has developed her own style, and her paintings are so characteristic. The eyes are very striking, the use of colors, intricate details, texture, kimono’s impressions all make for a very unusual and sensitive style focused around the subtle and overwhelming beauty of the Japanese women.

History and Honors

1948 Started painting by herself. 1953〜 Assigned to several private art teachers since childhood. 1956 to 1962 Attended and graduated from Joshibi Junior and High School of Art and Design. 1962 to 1966 Attended and graduated from Bunka Fashion College. While in college, worked for Tsuburaya Productions for special effects and techniques assistant. 1974 Chief Designer for Fashion Building in Ginza. 1975 Opened her own design studio in Roppongi, Tokyo. 1975 Kiiko’s solo exhibition at Sony Gallery in Ginza. 1985 Designed all the costumes and uniforms for American pavilion at Expo’85 in Tsukuba, Japan. Received a letter of appreciation from the U.S. Government. 1993〜 Lived and painted in Europe. 2000〜 Moved to Hawaii and started painting. 2002 Awarded Governor’s prize of Honolulu Japan Cultural Center.