Yoko Ono is born in Tokyo on February 18, 1933. Yoko moves with her family, living in San Francisco, New York, and Tokyo. She receives classical musical instruction, primarily in piano and voice.
Yoko Ono returns to Japan in 1941 and spends several years there. She survives the devastating bombardment of Tokyo in March of 1945.
Yoko Ono is admitted to Gakushūin University as its first female student of philosophy. There, she is introduced to Existentialism and Marxism and other forms of philosophy, and becomes acquainted with the pacifist ideas. She leaves the university after two semesters and follows her family to New York, where she enrolls at Sarah Lawrence College, majoring in contemporary poetry and composition.
She withdraws from college. She meets the avant-garde composer Toshi Ichiyanagi and lives with him in Manhattan. She meets John Cage and gets in touch with Morton Feldman, Richard Maxfield, David Tudor, and Merce Cunningham. In 1959, Ono makes the first of many appearances in front of small audiences and begins to make a name for herself as an independent artist. With her composition Lighting Piece (1955) (first performed in 1961), Ono is one of the very first artists to create event scores.
Yoko Ono rents a loft on Chambers Street in New York where, with La Monte Young, she organizes events and concerts. Their guests include Marcel Duchamp, Peggy Guggenheim, and George Maciunas. In this context she presents her Instruction Paintings which are shown again at her first solo exhibition at Maciunas’s AG Gallery in New York.
Yoko Ono returns to Japan and remains in Tokyo until 1964. She stages her first solo concert and exhibition, featuring a number of her Instructions for Paintings, at the Sogetsu Art Center. At the same venue, Ono appears in a performance of John Cage and performs other pieces with Cage and David Tudor.
Yoko Ono meets Anthony Cox. They get married and their daughter Kyoko Cox is born on August 3, 1963. During this period, Nam June Paik arrives in Tokyo and performs with Ono. In 1964 she performs Morning Piece, in which she offers past and future mornings for sale. She publishes the artist´s book Grapefruit containing a collection of her Instructions. Ono performs Cut Piece and Bag Piece, at the “Contemporary American Avant-Garde Music Concert: Insound and Instructure” in Kyoto. In the winter of 1964/65, Ono and Cox move to New York. There, Ono initiates a number of postcard events including Draw Circle Event.