Born and educated in Tokyo, Tomoko Kodama lives in Ottawa, Canada, where she has been teaching sumi-é since 1968. Her first book, Oriental Calligraphy and Painting was recommended by the Canadian Library Association in cm: A Reviewing Journal of Canadian Materials for Young People, received Honourable Mention in 1991 from the Canada Council, for making a traditional Japanese art form accessible, and won the Canada-Japan Book Award. In 1997, She created two workbooks for students of calligraphy and sumi-é: Calligraphy plus Imagination and Beginner to Master.

Tomoko has had shows in Tokyo, Ottawa and Montreal, and group exhibits in several other cities, and her work is represented in a number of collections. In 1976, she received the Japanese Consulate Award (first prize) for work in the annual exhibition of the Sumi-é Society of America.

In 1977, she formed Group Yohaku for Canadian sumi-é artists. From various cultures, the members have from studied Kodama's breathing method at the Ottawa School of Art, where she still teaches. The group has regular exhibitions in Ottawa, and has toured in Japan, where they received rave reviews in the Japanese press. Group Yohaku also sponsored an Ottawa exhibition of work artists from Nanjing, China, and shown in Toronto (1992) and Winnipeg in (1994). Their 2000 exhibition, A View to the Future, was a celebration of Tomoko's 30 years of teaching.

In addition to books and exhibitions, Tomoko has given classes, workshops and seminars at galleries and art schools in Canada and Japan, and introduced her non-traditional method at a public junior high school in Tokyo.