122 Facts About Yoko Ono


Yoko Ono is a Japanese multimedia artist, singer, songwriter, and peace activist.


Yoko Ono became involved with New York City's downtown artists scene in the early 1960s, which included the Fluxus group, and became well known in 1969 when she married English musician John Lennon of the Beatles, with whom she would subsequently record as a duo in the Plastic Ono Band.


Yoko Ono began a career in popular music in 1969, forming the Plastic Yoko Ono Band with Lennon and producing a number of avant-garde music albums in the 1970s.


Yoko Ono achieved commercial and critical success in 1980 with the chart-topping album Double Fantasy, a collaboration with Lennon that was released three weeks before his murder, winning the Grammy Award for Album of the Year.


Yoko Ono funded the Strawberry Fields memorial in Manhattan's Central Park, the Imagine Peace Tower in Iceland, and the John Lennon Museum in Saitama, Japan.


Yoko Ono has made significant philanthropic contributions to the arts, peace, disaster relief in Japan and the Philippines, and other such causes.


The rest of the family followed soon after, with Yoko Ono first meeting her father when she was two years old.


Yoko Ono's younger brother Keisuke was born in December 1936.


In 1937, the family was transferred back to Japan, and Yoko Ono enrolled at Tokyo's elite Gakushuin, one of the most exclusive schools in Japan.


Yoko Ono was enrolled in piano lessons from the age of 4, until the age of 12 or 13.


Yoko Ono attended kabuki performances with her mother, who was trained in shamisen, koto, otsuzumi, kotsuzumi, nagauta, and could read Japanese musical scores.


Yoko Ono was enrolled in Keimei Gakuen, an exclusive Christian primary school run by the Mitsui family.


Yoko Ono remained in Tokyo throughout World War II and the fire-bombing of March 9,1945, during which she was sheltered with other family members in a special bunker in Tokyo's Azabu district, away from the heavy bombing.


Yoko Ono later went to the Karuizawa mountain resort with members of her family.


Starvation was rampant in the destruction that followed the Tokyo bombings; the Yoko Ono family was forced to beg for food while pulling their belongings in a wheelbarrow.


Yoko Ono said it was during this period in her life that she developed her "aggressive" attitude and understanding of "outsider" status.


The school, located near the Tokyo Imperial Palace, had not been damaged by the war, and Yoko Ono found herself a classmate of Prince Akihito, the future emperor of Japan.


Yoko Ono graduated from Gakushuin in 1951, and was accepted into the philosophy program of Gakushuin University as the first woman to enter the department.


Yoko Ono joined her family in New York in September 1952, and enrolled at nearby Sarah Lawrence College.


Yoko Ono's parents approved of her college choice, but disapproved of her lifestyle and chastised her for befriending people whom they felt were beneath her.


In 1956, Yoko Ono left college to elope with Japanese composer Toshi Ichiyanagi, a star in Tokyo's experimental community, then studying at Juilliard.


Yoko Ono has said that her heroes at this time were the twelve-tone composers Arnold Schoenberg and Alban Berg.


Yoko Ono left college and moved to New York in 1957, supporting herself through secretarial work and lessons in the traditional Japanese arts at the Japan Society.


Yoko Ono has often been associated with the Fluxus group, a loose association of Dada-inspired avant-garde artists which was founded in the early 1960s by Lithuanian-American artist George Maciunas.


Yoko Ono formally invited Ono to join Fluxus, but she declined because she wanted to remain independent.


Yoko Ono eventually found an inexpensive loft in downtown Manhattan at 112 Chambers Street and used the apartment as a studio and living space, allowing composer La Monte Young to organize concerts in the loft.


In 1961, years before meeting John Lennon, Yoko Ono had her first major public performance in a concert at the 258-seat Carnegie Recital Hall.


Yoko Ono showed this work and other instructional work again at Macunias's AG Gallery in July 1961.


Yoko Ono is credited for the album cover art for the album Nirvana Symphony by Toshiro Mayuzumi, released by Time Records in 1962.


Yoko Ono returned home to live with her parents, and, suffering from clinical depression, was briefly placed into a Japanese mental institution.


On November 28,1962, Yoko Ono married Anthony Cox, an American jazz musician, film producer, and art promoter who had been instrumental in securing her release from the mental institution.


Yoko Ono gave birth to their daughter Kyoko Chan Cox two months later, on August 8,1963.


Yoko Ono had a second engagement at the Carnegie Recital Hall in 1965, in which she debuted Cut Piece.


In September 1966, Yoko Ono visited London to meet artist and political activist Gustav Metzger's Destruction in Art Symposium in September 1966.


Yoko Ono was the only woman artist chosen to perform her own events and only one of two invited to speak.


Yoko Ono premiered The Fog Machine during her Concert of Music for the Mind at the Bluecoat Society of Arts in Liverpool, England in 1967.


Yoko Ono won custody after successfully claiming that Ono was an unfit mother due to her drug use.


Yoko Ono greatly enjoyed this experience as it was a positive message, whereas most concept art he encountered at the time was anti-everything.


When Lennon's wife Cynthia asked for an explanation of why Yoko Ono was telephoning them at home, he told her that Yoko Ono was only trying to obtain money for her "avant-garde bullshit".


Yoko Ono became pregnant, but she suffered the miscarriage of a male child on November 21,1968, a few weeks after Lennon's divorce from Cynthia was granted.


On December 12,1968, Lennon and Yoko Ono participated in the BBC documentary about The Rolling Stones, The Rolling Stones Rock And Roll Circus, along with several other high-profile musicians.


Lennon performed his Beatles composition "Yer Blues" towards the end, with an improvised vocal performance by Yoko Ono rounding out the set.


On March 20,1969, Lennon and Yoko Ono were married at the registry office in Gibraltar and spent their honeymoon in Amsterdam, campaigning with a week-long Bed-in for Peace.


When Yoko Ono was injured in a car accident, Lennon arranged for a king-sized bed to be brought to the recording studio as he worked on the Beatles' last recorded album, Abbey Road.


The name had earlier been attached to a sound and light installation conceived by Yoko Ono which had been installed in the Apple press office.


Yoko Ono's album included raw, harsh vocals, which bore a similarity with sounds in nature and free jazz techniques used by wind and brass players.


Yoko Ono received minor airplay with the ballad "Mrs Lennon".


In 1971, while studying with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in Majorca, Spain, Ono's ex-husband Anthony Cox accused Ono of abducting their daughter Kyoko from the kindergarten.


Yoko Ono spoke of driving along the coast with Lennon and dreamed of buying a house in Maine.


In 1973, Yoko Ono recorded a single, "Joseijoi Banzai, Parts 1 and 2" with musicians billed as the Plastic Yoko Ono Band and Elephants Memory and released it only in Japan.


Yoko Ono cheered feminism by combining lyrics inspired by Japanese war songs with Pop rhythms, signalling a new direction.


The couple separated in July 1973, with Yoko Ono pursuing her career and Lennon living between Los Angeles and New York with personal assistant May Pang; Yoko Ono had given her blessing to Lennon and Pang's relationship.


The next month, Lennon agreed to meet Yoko Ono, who claimed to have found a cure for smoking.


When she telephoned the next day, Yoko Ono told her Lennon was unavailable, because he was exhausted after a hypnotherapy session.


Yoko Ono told her his separation from Ono was now over, though Ono would allow him to continue seeing her as his mistress.


Yoko Ono and Lennon's son, Sean, was born on October 9,1975, Lennon's 35th birthday.


Sean has followed in his parents' footsteps with a career in music; he performs solo work, works with Yoko Ono and formed a band, the Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger.


In 1984, a tribute album titled Every Man Has a Woman was released, featuring a selection of songs written by Yoko Ono performed by artists such as Elvis Costello, Roberta Flack, Eddie Money, Rosanne Cash, and Harry Nilsson.


Yoko Ono funded the construction and maintenance of the Strawberry Fields memorial in Manhattan's Central Park, directly across from the Dakota, which was the scene of the murder and remains Yoko Ono's residence to this day.


In 1986, Yoko Ono set out on a goodwill world tour for Starpeace, primarily visiting Eastern European countries.


In 1990, Yoko Ono collaborated with music consultant Jeff Pollack to honor what would have been Lennon's 50th birthday with a worldwide broadcast of "Imagine".


Yoko Ono felt the timing was perfect, considering the escalating conflicts in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and Germany.


Yoko Ono released a one-disc sampler of highlights from Onobox, simply titled Walking on Thin Ice.


In 1994, Yoko Ono produced her own off-Broadway musical entitled New York Rock, which featured Broadway renditions of her songs.


In 1995, Yoko Ono released Rising, a collaboration with her son Sean and his then-band, Ima.


In 2000, Yoko Ono founded the John Lennon Museum in Saitama, Japan, which housed over 130 pieces of Lennon and Beatles memorabilia from Yoko Ono's private collection.


In 2002, Yoko Ono joined the B-52's in New York for their 25th anniversary concerts; she came out for the encore and performed "Rock Lobster" with the band.


Yoko Ono had great success with new versions of "Walking on Thin Ice", remixed by top DJs and dance artists including Pet Shop Boys, Orange Factory, Peter Rauhofer, and Danny Tenaglia.


Yoko Ono performed at the opening ceremony for the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Turin, Italy, Like many of the other performers during the ceremony, she wore white to symbolize the snow of winter.


Yoko Ono read a free verse poem calling for world peace as an introduction to Peter Gabriel's performance of "Imagine".


Yoko Ono's bail was revoked, and he pleaded not guilty to two counts of attempted grand larceny.


On June 26,2007, Yoko Ono appeared on Larry King Live along with McCartney, Starr and Olivia Harrison.


Yoko Ono headlined the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago on July 14,2007, performing a full set that mixed music and performance art.


Yoko Ono sang "Mulberry", a song about her time in the countryside after the Japanese collapse in World War II for only the third time ever, with Thurston Moore: Yoko Ono had previously performed the song with John and with Sean.


Yoko Ono returned to Liverpool for the 2008 Liverpool Biennial, where she unveiled Sky Ladders in the ruins of Church of St Luke.


That year Ono became a grandmother when Emi was born to her daughter Kyoko.


Yoko Ono appeared onstage at Microsoft's June 1,2009, E3 Expo press conference with Olivia Harrison, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr to promote the Beatles: Rock Band video game, which was universally praised by critics.


Yoko Ono appeared on the Basement Jaxx album Scars, featuring on the single "Day of the Sunflowers ".


On February 16,2010, Sean organized a concert at the Brooklyn Academy of Music called "We Are Plastic Ono Band", at which Yoko performed her music with Sean, Clapton, Klaus Voormann and Jim Keltner for the first time since the 1970s.


Yoko Ono had created an artwork the year before for autism awareness and allowed it to be auctioned off in 67 parts to benefit the organization.


On February 18,2011, Yoko Ono took out a full-page advert in the UK free newspaper Metro for "Imagine Peace 2011".


Yoko Ono collected the 8th Hiroshima Art Prize for her contributions to art and for peace, that she was awarded the year prior.


On June 29,2012, Yoko Ono received a lifetime achievement award at the Dublin Biennial.


In February 2013, Yoko Ono accepted the Rainer Hildebrandt Medal at Berlin's Checkpoint Charlie Museum, awarded to her and Lennon for their lifetime of work for peace and human rights.


Yoko Ono was given a Congressional citation from the Philippines for her monetary aid to the victims of typhoon Pablo, as well as her donation to disaster relief efforts after typhoon Ondoy in 2009 and assistance of Filipino schoolchildren.


In 2013, she and the Plastic Yoko Ono Band released the LP Take Me to the Land of Hell, which featured numerous guests including Yuka Honda, Cornelius, Hirotaka "Shimmy" Shimizu, mi-gu's Yuko Araki, Wilco's Nels Cline, Tune-Yards, Questlove, Lenny Kravitz, and Ad-Rock and Mike D of the Beastie Boys.


On February 26,2016, Yoko Ono was hospitalized after suffering what was rumored to be a possible stroke.


In October 2018, Yoko Ono released Warzone, which included new versions of previously recorded tracks including "Imagine".


Yoko Ono was a pioneer of conceptual art and performance art.


The piece consisted of Yoko Ono, dressed in her best suit, kneeling on a stage with a pair of scissors in front of her.


Yoko Ono invited and then instructed audience members to join her on stage and cut pieces of her clothing off.


Yoko Ono noted that her conceptual approach was made more acceptable when white male artists like Joseph Kosuth and Lawrence Weiner came in and "did virtually the same things" she did, and that her take has a poetic and lyrical side that sets it apart from the work of other conceptual artists.


Yoko Ono would enact many of the book's scenarios as performance pieces throughout her career, which formed the basis for her art exhibitions, including the highly publicized retrospective exhibition, This Is Not Here in 1971 at the Everson Museum in Syracuse, New York, that was nearly closed when it was besieged by excited Beatles fans, who broke several of the art pieces and flooded the toilets.


Yoko Ono was an experimental filmmaker who made 16 short films between 1964 and 1972, gaining particular renown for a 1966 Fluxus film called simply No 4, often referred to as Bottoms.


Yoko Ono acted in an obscure exploitation film in 1965, Satan's Bed.


In 2014 Yoko Ono's Imagine Peace exhibit opened at the Bob Rauschenburg Gallery at Florida SouthWestern State College in Fort Myers, Florida.


Yoko Ono installed a billboard on US Route 41 in Fort Myers to promote the show and peace.


One of two pieces Yoko Ono installed as part of the 2014 Folkestone Triennial, Earth Peace originally consisted of many parts and appeared in many locations and media around Folkestone, including posters, stickers, billboards and badges.


In October 2016, Yoko Ono unveiled her first permanent art installation in the United States; the collection is located in Jackson Park, Chicago and promotes peace.


Yoko Ono was inspired during a visit to the Garden of the Phoenix in 2013 and feels a connection to the city of Chicago.


Refugee Boat belongs to Yoko Ono's Add Color Painting series, first enacted in 1960, which invites the audience to make marks over the designated objects, often white.


YES refers to the title of a 1966 sculptural work by Yoko Ono, shown at Indica Gallery, London: viewers climb a ladder to read the word "yes", printed on a small canvas suspended from the ceiling.


Yoko Ono received a Golden Lion Award for lifetime achievement from the Venice Biennale in 2009.


In 2012, Yoko Ono held a major exhibition of her work To The Light at the Serpentine Galleries, London.


Yoko Ono was the winner of the 2012 Oskar Kokoschka Prize, Austria's highest award for applied contemporary art.


Yoko Ono has been an activist for peace and human rights since the 1960s.


Yoko Ono remained outspoken in her support of feminism, and openly bitter about the racism she had experienced from rock fans, especially in the UK.


On Valentine's Day 2003, which was the eve of the Iraqi invasion by the US and UK, Yoko Ono heard about a couple, Andrew and Christine Gale, who were holding a love-in protest in their tiny bedroom in Addingham, West Yorkshire.


Yoko Ono promotes her art and shares inspirational messages and images through a robust and active Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook presence.


Yoko Ono's tweets are short instructional poems, comments on media and politics, and notes about performances.


In 1987, Yoko Ono travelled to Moscow to participate in the "International Forum for a Nuclear-free World and for the Survival of Mankind".


Yoko Ono visited Leningrad, where she met with members of the local John Lennon memorial club.


Yoko Ono received a Golden Lion Award for lifetime achievement from the Venice Biennale in 2009 and the 2012 Oskar Kokoschka Prize, Austria's highest award for applied contemporary art.


In January 2021 Yoko Ono was one of the founders of The Coda Collection, a service that launched in the US via Amazon Prime Video Channels on February 18,2021, the day Yoko Ono turned 88.


For many years, Yoko Ono was frequently criticized by both the press and the public.


Yoko Ono was blamed for the breakup of the Beatles and repeatedly criticized for her influence over Lennon and his music.


Lennon and Yoko Ono were injured in a car accident in June 1969, partway through recording Abbey Road.


George Harrison got into a shouting match with Lennon after Yoko Ono took one of his chocolate digestive biscuits without asking.


Yoko Ono credited McCartney with helping save her marriage to John.


Yoko Ono had a difficult relationship with her stepson Julian, but the relationship improved over the years.


Yoko Ono promoted the exhibition on her website, and Julian and Sean are close.


Canadian rock band Barenaked Ladies' debut single was "Be My Yoko Ono", first released in 1990 and later appearing on their 1992 album Gordon.