1959. Born December 5 in Hirosaki, Aomori prefecture.

1964–66 As both his parents worked, Nara is a so-called “latchkey kid,” who spends a lot of time alone after coming home from preschool. He enjoys drawing and creating pictorial stories on the back of leaflets. He grows up around animals.

1970. Nara builds his own crystal radio, a popular item during this time, and
begins listening to late night radio broadcasts. He is strongly drawn to American rock and folk music that attempted to fight against violence through inspirational sounds and lyrics in the midst of the Vietnam War.

1976. For his high school festival’s customary contribution to the Neputa
Festival, Nara creates artwork of a courtesan from Katsushika Hokusai’s Suikoden. The excellence of this portrait becomes the talk of the school.

1979. Enrolls in the College of Art and Design at Musashino Art University.

1981. Facing financial difficulties, Nara drops out of Musashino Art University and enrolls in the oil painting department at the Aichi Prefectural University of the Arts, which offered lower tuition fees. Unfettered by the academic education he received in college, Nara finds inspiration in the New Painting (New Expressionism) movement. Not limiting himself to oil paint, Nara incorporates various mediums such as drawing, collage etc. to explore his own unique expression.

1985. Graduates from Aichi Prefectural University of the Arts and continues taking the master’s program.

In front of his home, 1964
© Yoshitomo Nara, courtesy Yoshitomo Nara Foundation