Kei Tanimoto is born in 1948 in Iga, Japan. He is the son of the ceramist Kosei Tanimoto. From 1970, he studies under Sakuzo Hineno and Hitoshi Kato in Mino.
He goes to Paris in 1973 and studies copperplate engraving with the artist Stanley William Hayter (1901-1988) at Atelier 17. In 1974 he opens a ceramics studio called Akira.
He begans to exhibit his ceramics in 1976, and participates in a performance at the National Museum of Asian Art - Guimet in 1977. Returning to Japan, he takes over the Mitagama kiln in Iga.
Several exhibitions followed throughout Japan, Kei Tanimoto still lives and works in Iga.