Richard Steiner was born and raised in Michigan, attended the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and moved to New York City in 1966 to pursue a career in fashion photography. Failing that, he was invited to become an english teacher in Japan. He went there in 1970 expecting to remain for only one year. He has remained there for 45 years so far.
He studied woodblock printmaking, mokuhanga, from Tokumitsu Masahiko in Hiroshima for 10 years. Receiving his teaching license and school name, Tosai, he opened up his own printmaking school in Kyoto in 1980. Steiner taught printmaking at Seika University until retiring in 2014 He now devotes all his time to teaching privately as well as exhibiting his work nationally and internationally.
In 1997, he created the Kyoto International Woodprint Association, KIWA, which has held 7 major exhibitions in Kyoto and elsewhere every 4 years. He is married to Kimiko Kuroda Steiner, an art and meditation translator. His current and future exhibitions include Austria, Lithuania and Poland.