Famous Japanese Artists

Find out more about the greatest Japanese Artists, including Shigeru Miyamoto, Akira Kurosawa, Yusuke Murata, Yayoi Kusama and Takashi Murakami.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Shigeru Miyamoto

Shigeru Miyamoto
Famous As: Video Game Designer, Artist
Birthdate: November 16, 1952
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Sonobe
Japanese game designer Shigeru Miyamoto is the man behind games such as Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda, and Donkey Kong. He has been the general manager and senior MD at Nintendo and now serves as its representative director and creative fellow. He avoids appearing on TV or giving autographs.

 2 Yayoi Kusama

Yayoi Kusama
Famous As: Contemporary Artist
Birthdate: March 22, 1929
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan
Japanese contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama is known for her variety of artforms, including sculpture, installations, paintings, and fashion. She mingles elements such as feminism, surrealism, and abstract expressionism, and expresses her struggle with mental illness through her art. She has also published books and produced an award-winning film. 
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 3 Akira Toriyama

Akira Toriyama
Famous As: Japanese Manga Artist
Birthdate: April 5, 1955
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture

Akira Toriyama is a Japanese character designer and manga artist. The creator of one of the most popular manga series of all time, Dragon Ball, Akira Toriyama is widely considered one of the most influential artists to have changed the history of manga; his creation Dragon Ball is often cited as a source of inspiration by several manga artists.

 4 Masashi Kishimoto

Masashi Kishimoto
Famous As: Manga Artist
Birthdate: November 8, 1974
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Nagi, Okayama Prefecture
Japanese manga artist Masashi Kishimoto is best known for creating the manga series Naruto for the Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine. The series eventually led to several anime, video games, and movies, such as Boruto: Naruto the Movie and The Last: Naruto the Movie, supervised by Kishimoto. 

 5 Yoko Ono

Yoko Ono
Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: February 18, 1933
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan

Yoko Ono is a Japanese multimedia artist, peace activist, and singer-songwriter. She came into prominence after marrying John Lennon of the Beatles. She is widely criticized for her unquestionable influence over John Lennon and his music. She is also often blamed for the disbandment of The Beatles. Despite all these criticisms, Yoko Ono continues to go on her merry way.

 6 Katsushika Hokusai

Katsushika Hokusai
Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: October 31, 1760
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Edo, Tokyo, Japan
Died: May 10, 1849

Katsushika Hokusai was a Japanese printmaker, ukiyo-e painter, and artist of the Edo period. He is best known as the creator of the monumental Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, a series of landscape prints, which includes the iconic print, The Great Wave off Kanagawa. He is credited with transforming the ukiyo-e art form to include a much broader style of art.

 7 Eiichiro Oda

Eiichiro Oda
Famous As: Japanese manga artist
Birthdate: January 1, 1975
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kumamoto, Kumamoto Prefecture

Eiichiro Oda is a Japanese manga artist best known as the creator of the series One Piece. The series is both the best-selling manga and the best-selling comic series of all time. He decided to become a manga artist as a child and began working as an assistant manga artist as a teenager, quickly gaining fame and fortune. 

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 8 Takashi Murakami

Takashi Murakami
Famous As: Sculptor, Painter, Artist, Film director
Birthdate: February 1, 1962
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Itabashi-ku

Takashi Murakami is a Japanese contemporary artist who works in both fine arts media and commercial arts media. He is known for blurring the line between “high” and “low” arts. He is the founder of the art production and artist management company Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. He has collaborated with the fashion brand Louis Vuitton as well. 

 9 Hajime Isayama

Hajime Isayama
Famous As: Mangaka
Birthdate: August 29, 1986
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Hita

 10 Issey Miyake

Issey Miyake
Famous As: Fashion designer
Birthdate: April 22, 1938
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Hiroshima, Japan

 11 Hiroshige

Famous As: painter
Birthdate: 1797 AD
Birthplace: Edo
Died: October 12, 1858

Best known for his landscape series like The Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō and One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, Hiroshige was a well-known ukiyo-e master, whose death marked the decline of this genre of art.  His works, which were generally characterized by subtle use of graded colors and multiple impressions, were source of inspiration to many 19-century European painters.

 12 Yoshitaka Amano

Yoshitaka Amano
Famous As: Character designer, Sculptor, Illustrator, Artist, Blogger, Animator, Painter
Birthdate: March 26, 1952
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Shizuoka

Japanese visual artist and illustrator Yoshitaka Amano is a renowned name in the animation industry. Apart from creating iconic characters such as Gatchaman, he has also illustrated for the video game series Final Fantasy. The Inkpot Award winner has also worked for two Vampire Hunter D movies.

 13 Takeshi Kitano

Takeshi Kitano
Famous As: Comedian
Birthdate: January 18, 1947
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Adachi, Tokyo, Japan

Takeshi Kitano is a Japanese comedian, TV presenter, author, actor, and filmmaker. He gained international fame in the 1970s as one half of the comedy duo Two Beat. He later pursued a solo act and became one of the top comedians in Japan. He then ventured into acting and direction as well. He won the Golden Lion award in 1997.   

 14 Rumiko Takahashi

Rumiko Takahashi
Famous As: Japanese manga artist
Birthdate: October 10, 1957
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Niigata, Niigata Prefecture

Rumiko Takahashi is a Japanese manga artist counted among the country’s best-known and wealthiest manga artists. She began her career in the late 1970s and has created numerous commercially successful works. In 2019, she received the Grand Prix de la ville d'Angoulême, becoming the second woman to win the prize. She has been inducted into the Eisner Hall of Fame.  

 15 Yusuke Murata

Yusuke Murata
Famous As: Mangaka
Birthdate: July 4, 1978
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kumamoto Prefecture

 16 Yoji Shinkawa

Yoji Shinkawa
Famous As: illustrator
Birthdate: November 25, 1971
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Hiroshima

 17 Kouta Hirano

Kouta Hirano
Famous As: Mangaka
Birthdate: July 14, 1973
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Adachi-ku

 18 Seishi Kishimoto

Seishi Kishimoto
Famous As: Mangaka
Birthdate: November 8, 1974
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Nagi

 19 Masaaki Hatsumi

Masaaki Hatsumi
Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: December 2, 1931
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Chiba Prefecture

While he initially specialized in judo, Hatsumi Masaaki, the 34th sōke head of the Togakure school of ninpō, later taught students his own brand of ninjutsu. Apart from heading the Bujinkan Organization, he has also advised the martial arts teams of films such as You Only Live Twice.

 20 Utamaro

Famous As: painter
Birthdate: 1753 AD
Birthplace: Edo
Died: 1806 AD

One of the most renowned ukiyo-e woodblock artists of Japan, Utamaro is remembered mostly for his portraits of women, such as The Seven Beauties of the Gay Quarters. However, after painting Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s wives and mistresses, he was punished for insulting the military leader, leading to the end of his career.

 21 Nakaba Suzuki

Nakaba Suzuki
Famous As: Mangaka
Birthdate: February 8, 1977
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Sukagawa

 22 Hajime Sorayama

Hajime Sorayama
Famous As: Artist, Illustrator, Painter
Birthdate: February 22, 1947
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Imabari

Japanese illustrator and artist Hajime Sorayama is best known for his innovative creations, such as life-size eroticized robots. While he was initially interested in Greek and English literature, his love for drawing sexualized characters took over later. He has also designed album covers for Aerosmith and worked on Sony’s AIBO.

 23 Yoshitoshi

Famous As: Engraver, Painter, Poet
Birthdate: April 30, 1839
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Edo
Died: June 9, 1892

One of the greatest ukiyo-e woodblock artists of Japan, Yoshitoshi depicted everything from folklore and kabuki subjects to ghost stories through his works. A student of Kuniyoshi, he suffered immense mental trauma during the Meiji Restoration. He later worked as Taiso but spent his final years in an asylum.

 24 Yoshitomo Nara

Yoshitomo Nara
Famous As: Artist, Painter, Sculptor, Photographer
Birthdate: December 5, 1959
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Hirosaki

After graduating from Aichi University, Yoshitomo Nara studied in Düsseldorf. Most of paintings and sculptures, such as Light My Fire, depict children in various moods. In works such as Nachtwandern, he was also seen mingling Japanese and Western cultures. He has also experimented with stuffed animals and plywood.

 25 Suehiro Maruo

Suehiro Maruo
Famous As: Artist, Illustrator, Mangaka, Painter
Birthdate: January 28, 1956
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Nagasaki
Manga artist Suehiro Maruo worked as a bookbinder after dropping out of senior high school. He soon began working for erotic magazines and contributed to the manga series Ribon no Kishi. He later adopted a signature style of depicting grotesque violence and sex. His work Midori was translated into Italian. 

 26 Takashi Amano

Takashi Amano
Famous As: Photographer, Naturalist, Keirin cyclist
Birthdate: July 18, 1954
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Niigata
Died: August 4, 2015

 27 Yasuhiro Nightow

Yasuhiro Nightow
Famous As: Mangaka
Birthdate: April 8, 1967
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Yokohama

 28 Shintaro Kago

Shintaro Kago
Famous As: mangaka
Birthdate: 1969 AD
Birthplace: Tokyo

 29 Kuroda Seiki

Kuroda Seiki
Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: August 9, 1866
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Kagoshima
Died: July 15, 1924
An aristocrat, Kuroda Seiki was sent to Paris by his father to study law but began studying painting soon after. His nudes Sentiment, Impression, and Wisdom mingled Japanese and Western art. His best-known painting, Lakeside, depicts his wife, Teruko, dressed in a kimono and sitting by a lake in Hakone.

 30 Kami

Famous As: musician
Birthdate: February 1, 1972
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Ibaraki
Died: June 21, 1999

 31 Satoshi Urushihara

Satoshi Urushihara
Famous As: Mangaka, Writer, Animator
Birthdate: February 9, 1966
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Hiroshima Prefecture

 32 Natsuki Takaya

Natsuki Takaya
Famous As: Mangaka
Birthdate: July 7, 1973
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Shizuoka

 33 Kazuo Koike

Kazuo Koike
Famous As: Screenwriter, Comics artist, Lyricist
Birthdate: May 8, 1936
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Daisen

 34 On Kawara

On Kawara
Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: January 2, 1933
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kariya
Died: July 10, 2014

On Kawara stunned art lovers with his paintings of dismembered bodies in the mid-1950s. The Japanese conceptual artist is best known for his Today series, or Date series, which contained over 2,000 paintings created in more than 100 cities. Following extensive tours across Europe, he eventually settled in New York.

 35 Sharaku

Birthdate: 0000 AD

 36 Sesshū Tōyō

Sesshū Tōyō
Famous As: Visual Artist
Birthdate: 1420 AD
Birthplace: Yamaguchi, Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan
Died: August 26, 1506

Born into a samurai family, Sesshū Tōyō grew up to be a master painter of the Muromachi period. He excelled in monochrome ink and wash painting, also known as sumi-e. His works depicted Buddhist scenes and nature. Long Scroll of Landscapes remains one of his best-known paintings.

 37 Kunisada

Famous As: Designer
Birthdate: 1786 AD
Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan
Died: January 12, 1865

Kunisada was one of the most successful ukiyo-e woodblock artists of Japan. He is best remembered for his portraits of actors and erotic depictions of women. The Hours of the Yoshiwara and Shunga remain some of his best-known works. He had also illustrated for Nise murasaki inaka genji.

 38 Akira Yoshizawa

Akira Yoshizawa
Famous As: Origamist
Birthdate: March 14, 1911
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Kaminokawa, Tochigi, Japan
Died: March 14, 2005

Legendary Japanese origamist Akira Yoshizawa had authored around 18 books and created over 50,000 models in his lifetime. He went from selling tsukudani to winning the Order of the Rising Sun. He had chanced upon origami while teaching geometry to his subordinates at the factory where he worked.

 39 Shirow Miwa

Shirow Miwa
Famous As: Mangaka, Illustrator
Birthdate: November 9, 1978
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Toyama

 40 Yosa Buson

Yosa Buson
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: 1716 AD
Birthplace: Settsu Province, Japan
Died: January 17, 1784

Though born into an affluent Japanese family, Yosa Buson renounced his wealth and traveled far and wide to master painting and the art of haiku. His poetic experiments included mingling Chinese and Japanese poetry. He played a major role in popularizing the Nan-ga style of Japanese painting.

 41 Hishikawa Moronobu

Hishikawa Moronobu
Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: 1618 AD
Birthplace: Kyonan, Chiba, Japan
Died: July 25, 1694

Japanese artist Hishikawa Moronobu is noted for popularizing the ukiyo-e genre of woodblock prints and paintings during the late 17th century. He is credited for producing the first ukiyo-e woodblock prints. A prolific illustrator, Moronobu worked in different genres and developed a unique style of portraying female beauties. He produced over 100 illustrated books and single-sheet images.

 42 Mitsuteru Yokoyama

Mitsuteru Yokoyama
Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: June 18, 1934
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kōbe, Japan
Died: April 15, 2004

Japanese manga artist Mitsuteru Yokoyama is best known for writing and illustrating the manga Tetsujin 28-gō, which was adapted into several anime television series and films and is credited for featuring the first humanoid giant robot that is controlled by an operator through remote control. Other works of Yokoyama include manga series like Giant Robo, Babel II and Princess Comet.

 43 Yasumasa Morimura

Yasumasa Morimura
Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: June 11, 1951
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ōsaka, Japan

Japanese appropriation artist Yasumasa Morimura, who showcases his works primarily in international solo-exhibitions, is most noted for creating large-scale self-portraits that are often superimposed on images of figures from history and art history like Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa and self-portraits of Frida Kahlo. Doublonnage (Marcel), the signature photograph of Morimura, features him as Marcel Duchamp’s alter ego Rrose Sélavy.

 44 Itō Jakuchū

Itō Jakuchū
Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: March 1, 1716
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Kyōto, Japan
Died: October 27, 1800

Japanese painter Itō Jakuchū of the mid-Edo period is best-recognised for his paintings that traditionally featured Japanese subjects, especially his detailed and lifelike paintings of chickens and other birds. A reputed artist of the Kyoto art community, Jakuchū received several personal commissions as well as commissions for painting panels or screens for different Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines in Japan.

 45 Tarō Okamoto

Tarō Okamoto
Famous As: Sculptor, Painter, Artist, Writer, Photographer, Potter
Birthdate: February 26, 1911
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Kawasaki
Died: January 7, 1996

Japanese muralist, sculptor, and painter Tarō Okamoto is best remembered for his avant-garde art. He had studied at the Panthéon Sorbonne and was also known as the Japanese Picasso for his fascination with Pablo Picasso. His works, such as The Law of the Jungle, depicted monstrous creatures.

 46 Ogata Kōrin

Ogata Kōrin
Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: 1658 AD
Birthplace: Kyōto, Japan
Died: June 2, 1716

Best known for his paintings on folding screens, ceramic figures, writing boxes, and fans, Ogata Kōrin rejuvenated the Rinpa school of Japanese art. Apart from painting, he also specialized in textile designing and lacquerwork. Though born to a wealthy calligrapher, he later lost his riches due to his extravagance.

 47 Shōji Hamada

Shōji Hamada
Famous As: Potter
Birthdate: December 9, 1894
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Kawasaki, Japan
Died: January 5, 1978

Japanese potter Shōji Hamada, a prominent figure of the mingei folk-art movement, revitalized pottery-making in Mashiko turning it into a world-renowned pottery-centre. He remained instrumental in developing the mingei concept with Yanagi Sōetsu and a group of craftsmen, and also coined the term along with Yanagi and Kawai Kanjirō. The Japanese government designated Hamada a Living National Treasure in 1955.

 48 Kawanabe Kyōsai

Kawanabe Kyōsai
Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: May 18, 1831
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Koga, Japan
Died: April 26, 1889

Also known as The Painting Demon, caricaturist and painter Kawanabe Kyōsai is credited with creating what is now known as the first manga magazine, Eshinbun Nipponchi. His works were largely inspired by Japanese folklore and culture. He was often arrested by the shogunate for his rebellious works.

 49 Yoshida Kenkō

Yoshida Kenkō
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: 1283 AD
Birthplace: Japan
Died: 1350 AD

Best known for his Tsurezuregusa, or Essays in Idleness, Yoshida Kenkō was a Japanese poet and author of the Kamakura and Muromachi periods. Following the death of emperor Go-Uda, he became a Buddhist monk but never abandoned society. His works mostly expressed his sadness at the loss of society’s glory.

 50 Sōtatsu

Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: 1570 AD
Birthplace: Kyoto, Japan
Died: 1640 AD

Sōtatsu is best remembered for mingling the Japanese scroll painting tradition, Yamato-e, with the screen painting of the Azuchi-Momoyama period. His works were known for their elaborate use of color, especially gold and silver. He is credited with pioneering the Rinpa school of art, along with Hon'ami Kōetsu.