Akio Onda was born in Tokyo and studied Western-style painting at Musashino College of Fine Arts. His early career focused on oil paintings with an exhibition at the Independent Fine Art Association in the early 1950s. In 1963, he became an assistant to Shiko Munakata at his alma mater, with whom he had previously studied woodblock printing. Onda started exhibiting his own woodblock prints in 1965. His work is printed in sumi ink on washi paper, sometimes with the backside of the paper hand-painted so that the color shows through the front. Munakata had a great influence on Onda's work. Popular subjects include classic haiku poetry, childhood and Buddhist philosophy.