Shuho Koiwai was born on March 26, 1916, in Ibaragi Prefecture in Japan. He became a student of Buzan Kimura at the age of 17, when specialized in the use of rock paint orIwaenogu (from rock crushed into fine powder). He studied Buddhist art and specialized in "Kacho" - that of flowers and birds.
During World War II, he served in China as a medical corpsman during which time he found ample free time to continue his studies in art. Upon his return to Japan, he found out that his master had died and then he became a disciple of Gakuryo Nakamura, a leading authority and master of Nihonga - the traditional Japanese paintings.
He was honored when he was selected as one of the 22 disciples of Master Nakamura who was commissioned to do the Hekiga (wall mural) of Osaka's Shitennoji Temple founded by Prince Shotoku during the early 7th century . The theme of the mural is "Life story of Buddha."
At age of 29, he won "inten" (Japan Fine Arts Exhibition) Award, a most prestigious fine art exhibit in Japan. Soon thereafter, he went on to collect a number of his nation's top awards.
1in 1964, his paintings were exhibited in Kansas City and at Salt Lake City. His love for Maui began when he first stopped over for a visit and befriended Rev. Gensho Hara. He gave many free demonstrations at Maui Community College, Hale Makua, Lahaina Jodo Mission, and a number of private organizations.
Mr. Koiwai also promoted Japanese paintings among all the people of Japan. particularly those of Nagano Prefecture where he lived for a long time.