Ben Kamihira was born in Yakima, Washington, in 1925. He studied at the Art Institute in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. He was the recipient of the J. Henry Schiedt Traveling Scholarship.
Kamihira's work is in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York; the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia; the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, Florida; the Colorado Springs Fine Art Center; the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, the Brooklyn Museum in New York; and the Oklahoma Art Museum.
He has had many one-man exhibitions, including: the Forum Gallery in New York in 1966, 1973 and 1976; the Galleria La Medusa in Rome, Italy which traveled throughout Italy in 1978; the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; and the Woodmere Art Museum in Philadelphia; the National Academy of Design; and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. He also exhibited at the Whitney Museum in New York; the Greensville Museum; the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh; the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio; and the Museum of Modern Art in New York; among others.
A member of the Fellowship of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and an Academician of the National Academy of Design, Kamihira has been the recipient of many awards: the Saltus Gold Medal, the Range and Fund Purchase Award, the Purchase Prize and the Lippincott Prize from the National Academy of Design in New York, and an Award of Merit from the Butler Institute of American Art.
Kamihara was artist-in-residence at Rice University in Houston, Texas and an instructor of drawing and painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and Pennsylvania State University.
He has also been a contributing author in American Artist, Art in America, the New York Times, Realities, San Diego Magazine and Time Magazine.