Motoi Oi was born Japan in 1910. He began his career in Japan where he was commissioned to create a number of murals. After World War II, his art was exhibited throughout Japan. In the late 1950s, Motoi Oi moved to New York. There he began teaching art at Queen's College, and at the Brooklyn Institute of Art & Science. As the founder of the Sumi-e Society of America, he received the Rising Sun Decoration from the Emperor of Japan for his work in US-Japanese cultural relations. His prints and paintings can be found in renowned collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the National Gallery in Washington.