Kamihira was born in Yakima, Washington. He and his parents were sent to a Japanese internment camp after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. From 1944 to 1946, he served in the Army's Japanese American 442nd Regimental Combat Team in Italy. Using the G.I. Bill, he studied at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh from 1946 to 1948 and at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts from 1948 to 1952. Kamihira became a professor at PAFA and taught generations of artists. His work is in the collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, Florida, the Colorado Springs Fine Art Center, the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Oklahoma Art Museum.