Matsubara Naoko 松原 直子, the distinguished Japanese-Canadian woodcut print artist, was born in 1937 on Shikoku Island into an old Shinto family, and grew up in Kyoto, where her father was a senior priest. She was educated at the Kyoto Academy of Fine Art (BFA, 1960); and was a Fulbright Scholar at what is now Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh (MFA, 1962). She was also a Special Invited Student at the Royal College of Art in London (1962).

After travelling extensively in Europe and Asia, Naoko returned to Japan for two years, before being lured back to the United States. There she worked as personal assistant to the late Prof. Fritz Eichenberg, and also taught at the Pratt Institute of Graphic Art in New York, as well as at the University of Rhode Island. Subsequently she lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

In 1972 Naoko moved to Canada and now lives in Oakville, Ontario. She has continued to be extremely active as an artist: locally, nationally and internationally. Since 1960 she has had more than 75 solo exhibitions, in the USA, Canada, Japan, England, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Holland and Mexico. She has also participated in numerous group exhibitions. Her work is held in major public institutions worldwide such as the Portland Art Museum, the Harvard Art Museums, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Detroit Institute of Art, the University of Michigan Museum of Art, the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, the Yale University Art Gallery, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Royal Ontario Museum, the Albertina in Vienna, the British Museum in London, the Kyoto National Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Tokyo National Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian Institution and the Library of Congress in Washington, the Hamburg Museum of Arts and Crafts, the Haifa Museum in Israel and the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney. She was made a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.