Toru "Tiger" Okoshi was born just outside of Osaka in 1950, the year of the Tiger. As a child he was devoted to painting. When he was 13, however, a friend took him to see Louis Armstrong, who was touring in Japan. "He hit me too strong," recalls Okoshi. He took up the trumpet and immersed himself in jazz. In 1972, after he graduated from the prestigious Kwansei Gakuin University with a bachelor of commerce, he married and came to the United States for his honeymoon. "We took Greyhound all the way across the country from Los Angeles to Boston," Okoshi recalls. "The beauty of it all gave me energy and fire. I knew I couldn’t go back."
When they arrived in Boston, they sold their return tickets, paid the tuition at Berklee College of Music and found a studio apartment. He started to practice by the Charles River, hoping someone would hear him and ask him to join a band that happened. Okoshi graduated summa cum laude from Berklee in 1975. Word of his abilities spread and he began assembling a lengthy résumé. In 1974 he performed with the Mike Gibbs Orchestra at Carnegie Hall in New York; in 1975 he toured the United States with the Buddy Rich Orchestra; and from 1976 to 1978 he taught at Berklee. Okoshi has appeared in numerous jazz festivals around the world. His fusion group, "Tiger’s Baku" appeared on the cruise liner Queen Elizabeth 2 in August 1998 for the Newport Jazz Festival at Sea. Tiger is currently a Professor at the Berklee College of Music.