Carlos Nakatani was born in the La Merced neighborhood of Mexico City in 1934.
Nakatani was called a "little brother" (brother) by his artistic contemporaries, especially Gilberto Aceves Navarro. He was lonely and ascetic, eating only what he needed to live and he bought very little. He married Mercedes Martínez with whom he had two daughters, Mayra, an art dealer and Karla, an actress.
Nakatani's artistic career included film and writing, along with the visual arts. Shortly before he devoted himself to painting, he created a black-and-white film. He wrote and directed a 1967 drama called by his father called "Yoshio." His other film works include "Una proxima luna" in 1965 and La excursion, starring Graciela Lara, José Luis Loman, Rocío launches, Rafael Espinosa, Ruben Islas and Marta Aura.
He wrote two novels. "Foreign Dad" (Exterior Dad) is about his relationship with his father. The other novel consists of 400 poems and manuscripts that narrate the life of Mozart.
However, Nakatani is best known for his painting. From 1956 to 1992, he exhibited his work individually and collectively in Mexico, the United States, Cuba, Guatemala, France, Yugoslavia, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand and other countries. His work is in the permanent collections of the Palais des Beaux-Arts and the National Library in Paris. At the time of his death, he was working on a series of eighty paintings that will be exhibited at the José Luis Cuevas Museum in Mexico City. Only sixteen of them were completed and included in a retrospective that took place in the same museum nine months after his death under the title of "Tanto melancolía" (Both melancholy). He has had a great exhibition of his death after his death at the Museo Universitario del Chopo in Mexico City as part of an exhibition of Japanese-Mexican artists and Japanese artists in Mexico.
His prizes include the National Salon of Engraving of Mexican Plastic in 1976, the Salvatore Rosa Prize in engraving and watercolor and the L'Arengario Prize in Rome. He was also a member of the Mexican Plastic Show.
Nakatani died on February 2, 2004 at age 70 after suffering a heart attack at his home. Three weeks before this, he predicted his death, according to Navarro. Karla dedicated a theatrical performance to him after his death.