Born in Aomori city (northern Honshu) Sekino was from his youth influenced by Munakata who came from the same city. He exhibited with the Japanese Print Association from 1932. In 1939 he moved to Tokyo and became a student of Onchi and joined the Ichimoku-kai (First Thursday Society). After the war he participated in their nostalgic wood block sets depicting lost customs and landscape of Japan. He began to exhibit internationally in 1955 and earned his position as one of Japan’s paramount 20th century print artists through his prints of the Kabuki and Bunraku theaters, the portraits of personalities such as Onchi and Munakata, his series of the Fifty three Stations of the Tokaido Road and views of traditional Japanese roofs.
In 1958, he traveled to the U. S. where he taught at Pratt Institute. In 1963, at the invitation of Gordon Gilkey, he taught at Oregon State University and also accepted an appointment to the faculty of the University of Washington. He was back in the campus at Oregon State in 1969 the year after he finished his celebrated portrait of Munakata. In 1974, his Tokaido Road series was completed, after fifteen years work and was exhibited at Isetan Department Store. One year later the Tokaido prints were shown for the first time in the U. S. at the University of Oregon Museum of Art alongside the museum’s collection of the Tokaido prints by Hiroshige.
In 1981 he was awarded the Purple Medal Ribbon by the Japanese Government. The following year, he had a solo exhibition at Central Museum Tokyo and in 1987 he was award the 4th class medal by his government.
Sekino’s work is collected by the Museum of Modern Art, N. Y., the Art Institute Chicago, the Museum of Fine Art, Boston, the British Museum and the Portland Art Museum among other fine museums throughout the world.