Kuniyoshi Sugawara started his studies of the Shakuhachi at 12 years old in his native island of Hokkaïdo. He studied with some of the great masters of the Shakuhachi. He received several awards, including first prize in the Hokkaïdo and All Japan Sankyoku Music Contest and second prize in the Pan Music Contemporary Music for Traditional Instruments solo division. Under the auspices of the Japanese Ministry of Cultural Affairs and the Japan Foundation, Kuniyoshi Sugawara has toured the United States, Portugal, Italy, the former Yugoslavia, and China. He performs in many different types of music, from traditional classical music to contemporary, from jazz to folk. He is also a composer and is an active radio and television performer.