Born in Tokyo, Japan, Koya pursued a successful business career before discovering Japanese calligraphy in 2004. For the next few years she explored new techniques and found joy in expression, eventually deciding it was time to share her work with the world. Currently living and painting in Kanagawa, a prefecture in the Greater Tokyo area, Koya has developed a painting style that is influenced by traditional Japanese calligraphy without being bound to it.
Working with sumi ink, Koya paints Chinese characters, poems, and lyrics on white paper, creating a fluid, sometimes translucent series of swooping strokes. Her single-word titles evoke spiritual imagery, but her work is more of a message of self-realization than it is a call to religion. “Life is shining and vibrant,” she says, “and the fact that it will end sooner or later only makes it more valuable.” Choosing to document life means she must explore both joy and sorrow. “The presence of negativity in the world only makes the beauty of life and the objects we encounter even greater,” Koya says. “I want to express how wonderful life is.”