Tokio Ueyama was born in 1889 in Wakayama, Japan. Prior to opening Bunkado with his wife, Suye, he immigrated to California to study fine arts at USC and The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. His talents took him all over the world before settling down in Little Tokyo.
In 1924, he hosted his first one-man exhibition in Eugene, Oregon and had his first show in Little Tokyo later that year. He went on to travel to Mexico (where he met with and exchanged paintings with Diego Rivera), host several shows throughout Southern California and received numerous awards for his paintings.
He was imprisoned at the Amache internment camp during World War 2, where he continued to paint and even taught a fine arts class to his fellow Japanese American internees. After his release from Amache, Tokio and his wife Suye went opened Bunkado in Little Tokyo, where we are still located today!