Kaneko Kuniyoshi was born in Saitama (a region north-west of Tokyo) in 1936. He graduated from Nihon University, majoring in art and design, in 1959. He started oil painting about 1964, with the first exhibition in Tokyo in 1967.
As a young artist, he was first interested by fashion illustrations and pin-ups, but soon found his own style by the late sixties. At University (19-24 years of age) he studied stage art and the theatre, and for a long time has had close links with theatrical circles, as well as working with ballet, interior design, collage, water painting and Sui Bokugo (a technique of ink drawing). Because of his close links with the Japanese theatre (Kabuki, Nihon Butoh) he feels his art has a particular Japanese character, especially when exhibiting abroad, and has the atmosphere of Ukiyo-e in the use of bold color.
Also likes Western ballet like Roland Petit. Claims not to be an academic painter. Admires the Surrealist artist, Leonor Fini, and agree with her when she remarked that ³there is a white canvas which speaks to you². You don¹t have to think of what to paint. Apart from the "Alice" CD and illustrating Japanese translations of "Alice", he has illustrated numerous books including the French erotic classic "¹Histoire d O" by Pauline Reage and the notorious "The Story of the Eye and Madame Edwarda" by French philosopher Georges Bataille. In recent years he has even contributed cover illustrations for a Japanese edition of Shakespeare, which serves to show just how successful he is in Japan.