Tokio Kumagai was born in Sendai, Japan in 1947. After graduating in 1970 from the Bunka Fukuso Gakuin, the Japanese college of design, Kumagai went to Paris.
Throughout the 70's, he designed for a number of companies, notably CASTELBAJAC, Rodier and Pierre d'Alby in France and FIORUCCI in Italy.
In 1979, he began hand-painting shoes. He opened his first boutique in 1980.
He died in 1987 at the young age of 40.
Inspired by SURREALISM, abstract art and EXPRESSIONIST styles, and artists such as Kandinsky, Pollock and Mondrian, Kumagai handpainted his shoes in a manner reminiscent of a particular artist's style. He often altered the structure of the shoe to accommodate his painting.