Toru Kawana came to the United States from Japan for the first time in 1978 as a high school exchange student. While living in Kansas City, KS for a year, he fell in love with this country and wanted to come back to live permanently in the U.S. In 1981, he returned for the second time to go to college in San Francisco. Toru studied photojournalism at San Francisco State University, hoping photography would become a cultural bridge between his Japanese roots and his American future. Toru joined Through Each Others Eyes as a way of building this bridge.
Since graduating from SFSU in 1985, Toru has worked for newspapers in California, Nevada and Arizona for more than twenty years. He left the East Valley Tribune in 2007, to train and become a firefighter for the City of Scottsdale. His transition was completed on May 21, 2010, when, on his 50th birthday, Toru became a United States citizen.