Shinmei Kato was born in 1910 in Nagoya with the given name of Kiyoshi. He studied under Watanabe Kishun and Nakamura Gakuryo. The artist worked foremost as a painter who exhibited at the state-sponsored exhibitions of Teiten and Nitten where he won a prize in 1948. Later he became a member of the board of judges.
Shinmei Kato is known for the traditional Japanese genre of images of bijin, beautiful women, frequently shown as maiko prints.