Akiko Hirai was born in Japan March 1970. She initially studied cognitive psychology in Japan and obtained her degree in Bachelor of letters before coming to England. During her first visit to England to study English language, she was attracted by the English culture and complexity of multi cultural society in London. It made her aware of her own cultural influence in her visual perception. Her interests lead her to her second visit to England in 1999. She met many English potters and learned how to work with clay, soon after that she took a degree course in ceramics at the University of Westminster, then onto graduation from Central St. Martins. After her graduation Akiko found her studio in The Chocolate Factory N16 in Stoke Newington amongst other varying artists where she now practices her ceramic work.
Akiko makes practical ware using the Japanese tradition of allowing the clay to show how it wants to be fired itself. Her work also allows the viewers to find out the language of the objects in their own ways. She focuses on the interaction between the objects and the viewers. Her work and unique approach to ceramic work have had much high praise and her work is becoming more in demand from her commissions worldwide.