Kokuta Suda was born in Fukiage (present day Konosu), Saitama Prefecture and after finishing school, studied drawing at the Kawabata Drawing School before leaving to continue studying on his own. At this early stage he had two failed applications for the Tokyo School of Fine Arts (Tokyo Bijutsu Gakko) however he was not discouraged and continued to show his work at state exhibitions including Bunten and Shin-Bunten, winning various awards in 1936, 1939 and 1942.
In 1948 Suda became a member of Han Artists Association (Han Bijutsu-ka Kyokai); a group founded by Jiro Yoshihara (1905-1972). Up until this point Suda’s work had been largely figurative, however in 1949 he was introduced to abstract painting by the influential avant-garde painter Saburo Hasegawa (1906-1957) and he also worked to deepen his knowledge of Zen Buddhism. At this time his work changed to abstract expressionism.
During the 1950s, groups of artists shared a common interest in exerting freedom of expression, separate from the influence of the antiquated art associations. In 1952 Suda co-founded the Modern Art Discussion Group (Genbi) which provided a forum for discussions on art theory and practice amongst its members who also included Jiro Yoshihara and Shiryu Morita (1912-1999); these discussions would later form the foundations of the Gutai group founded by Yoshihara in 1954. Interestingly Suda was invited to join the Gutai group however he declined in order to follow his own path.
In 1975 Suda participated in a group exhibition at the Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art, Kobe, titled Four Abstract Artists, alongside artists Kazuo Shiraga, Waichi Tsutaka, Sadamasa Motonaga, as well as participating in many other group and solo exhibitions both internationally and in Japan.
In 1980s his life-long interest in both calligraphy and Buddhism came to the fore and he began to focus on producing bold calligraphic works featuring Buddhist dictums.
Work by the artist has entered numerous museum collections including The National Museum of Art, Osaka (go to: http:/search.artmuseums.go.jp/search_e/sakuhin_list.php), and LACMA (go to: http:/collections.lacma.org/node/213446).