Akiko was born on Taketomi Island of Okinawa Prefecture in 1938 and graduated from Joshibi University of Art and Design in Tokyo.
After studying under Fukumi Shimura in Kyoto from 1970, she opened the KUURU-KOUBOU studio in Iriomote Island with her husband Ishigaki Kinsei in 1980, reviving the traditional dyeing and weaving techniques, using local plants. She continues to make efforts to pass on the traditional culture and art of the island, including restoring costumes of the traditional festival “Shichi”, as well as being very active in local environmental protection.
In 1998, in collaboration with textile designer Chiaki Maki and dress designer Michiyo Masago, she launched a clothing brand “Mapai”, and exhibited her works at the Japan Textile Exhibition of MOMA, New York.
In 1999, Ishigaki won the Art Award of Okinawa Times.
In 2000, she completed a town work center dedicated to the active preservation of traditional arts in Iriomote Island.
Currently, she is also working as an advisor of the NPO Iriomote Island Ecotourism Association.
KUURU-KOUBOU studio: https://kuurukoubou.wixsite.com/iriomote