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Profile: The Long Version


The Reasons Why I Am Who I Am Today

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1. My entrepreneurial father encouraged his children to become international in an environment where we often met foreigners.

​2. I had a super-smart older brother who read encyclopedias like novels. My mother told me, "You have to study hard because your brother took the most of your brain." I believed her and became a hard worker.

3. When I was two years old, one of my drawings got selected for an exhibition curated by the local town hall. My mother was delighted - "She is a genius artist!" - and encouraged me to pursue art. 

4. At the age of three, I suffered third-degree burns on my left arm and neck due to an accident. My parents taught me to hide them. When I was older, my father told me, "I don't think any man will marry you, but you can live with us forever." I didn't want to do that, so I thought, "I have to be financially independent."

5. I excelled in sports, but I couldn't wear short-sleeved sportswear since I had to hide the burn scars. I declined to participate in any tournaments and eventually gave up on my wish of becoming an athlete or a dancer.

6. After I failed to be accepted by the elite Tokyo University of the Arts, my father sent me to an English Intensive school in Vermont, USA, without asking me what I wanted to do. I later moved to New York City of my own will and felt at home for the first time. 

7. I enjoyed a successful career as an illustrator in my 20s to 40s and worked with many leading corporations and organizations.

8. Contrary to my father's prophecy, I had a colorful love life and got married twice. Even though both ended in divorce, I learned a lot from my ex-husbands.

9. I always wanted to have children, but I could not conceive (a long story). But, I was lucky to adopt a half Asian - half white newborn girl who grew up to be a strong feminist. 

10. I worked at an art gallery in the Chelsea section of Manhattan owned by a successful Japanese woman. I learned the joy of working with Japanese clientele.

11. After my father's sudden passing in 2013, I took over one of the two small companies he left behind. I managed the company by commuting between New York and Tokyo for two and a half years. My father's best friend, a former president of Marubeni Philippines, taught me everything about how to run a company. 

12. Two years later, my brother, who was only two years older than me, suddenly passed away. This event made me examine my life. I sold the company and started a new chapter back in New York City.

13. Then the pandemic arrived! In the summer of 2021, I bought a small old house in Upstate New York and started a new chapter. 


Conventinal Profile



Coco Masuda was born and raised in Tokyo. In 1979, she was sent to the United States to study and graduated from Parsons School of Design. After working as a graphic designer/illustrator based in New York City, she started working as a fine art painter in 2009. She executed a series of cityscapes and portraits of her adopted homeland, New York City. In 2012, she led a program called Onishi Project at a Chelsea art gallery to introduce Japanese artists to the United States. She continued to work as a director for a year and a half. After her father's sudden passing in 2013, she took on the president's role and managed his shipping/remittance company in Tokyo. Two and a half years later, she succeeded in selling the company at a profit. She decided to use her language skills and connections to run a business that would serve as a bridge between Japan and the West, and established CoCollaborations, LLC, in 2017. In 2020, she started to revive her illustration and painting business as well. 


Launched an online store, CoCollaborations The Store, with the concept of "Artful Living." 


After building the online store for BUNZABUROa brand based in Kyoto, Japan, and helping it to grow globally for a year, became the Overseas Manager. 


Vision Marketing, Tokyo, Japan, Collaborator


CoCollaborations LLC, NY, Founder/Managing Director


Solo Show, "Coco Masuda | New York Cityscapes", Isetan Shinjuku, Tokyo


"Equal Rights for Women" was featured in "Resist!" distributed during The Women's March


Two series of portrait paintings, a total of 13,  used for an advertising campaign for Itochu Corporation of Japan, which won the grand prize for the prestigious Nikkei Advertising award. 


Forex Japan, Tokyo, President


Onishi Project, NY, Managing Director


Jury for Society of Illustrators' student scholarship show


Jury for Society of Illustrators' student scholarship show​


FIT, NY, Illustration Dept. Adjunct Professor


Poster design and illustration for United Nations' "Beijing at Ten" held in New York City

2001−10, 17

Poster illustration for The US Courts, Office of Public Affairs


Jury for Society of Illustrators' annual show


Poster design and illustration for United Nations's "The Women’s Conference in Beijing", for The International Women’ Day


Chosen to create the first illustration cover since 1970s for Fortune magazine


Freelance Illustrator


Cover illustration commissioned by Time, Newsweek, U.S.News&World Report, within two weeks 


Cygnus Production, NY, Design Director


Quatorze Design, NY, Principal


David Curry Design, NY, Graphic Designer


Unit (Clothing Company), NY, Partner


Parsons School of Design, NY, BFA


Hobbies and Interests

⭕️ Nihon Shuji (Japan Calligraphy) 5th degree, Certified Instructor

Maybe I will teach children someday. 

⭕️ Cooking

Cooking is my relaxation. I often procrasti-bake, too. 

​○ International Karate Organization, Kyokushinkaikan, 1st Dan Black Belt

The best years of my life were spent at the dojo with my daughter. I obtained my black belt at age 54. 


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