Foujita Tsuguharu (Leonard) was born in Edogawa, Tokyo.
He received full formal training at the Imperial School of Fine Arts.
Success came quickly for Foujita, and he was commissioned to paint a portrait of the Emperor of Korea, and subsequently, the Japanese Emperor bought one of his pictures.
In 1913 at the age of 27 he traveled to Paris, immediately making the acquaintance of the leading painters of the day. Several artists became his close friends, sharing models, lovers, and the tribulations of impecunious artists in the metropolis, among them, his friends included Picasso, Soutine, Rivera and Cocteau and many others such as the Sculptor Ossip Zadkine.
He struck up a particularly close friendship with the famous Italian artist Modigliani.