Michio Hoshino was born in Ichikawa City, Japan, in 1952. When he was seventeen, a photo of an Eskimo village on the northwest coast of Alaska in National Geographic inspired him to explore the vast wilderness. During the summer of 1972, he traveled to Shishmaref, Alaska, to live with the town's mayor. He returned to Japan and went on to study and graduate from Keio University in 1976 with a major in economics. In 1978, he left his native Japan and pursued a life-long wish to live and work in Alaska. After four years of studying wildlife management at the University of Alaska's College of Natural Sciences, he became a professional photographer concentrating on Alaskan nature and wildlife.
In 1986, his first book, Grizzly, was published by Chronicle Books. Two years later, he published another book, Caribou. In 1988, Hoshino's photos of Alaskan scenery and wildlife were featured in a special issue of Audubon magazine, and he published his third book—Moose—in both English and Japanese. In 1989, an exhibition of his work—"Alaska: Latitude 60 Degrees North"—was held at Tokyo's Olympus Gallery and Asahi Shimbun Concourse, as well as other locations in Japan. He also began "Alaska: Story Like the Wind," a photographic essay run serially in Japan's Asahi Weekly, and authored a work for children—"The Grizzly Bear Family Book"—which was published by North–South in 1994. His articles and photographs have appeared in numerous American and international magazines.
On August 6, 1996, at the age of 44, Hoshino was killed by a brown bear while photographing on the Kamchatka Penninsula in eastern Russia. He is survived by his wife Naoko and his son Shoma.