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 - Instructor ImageCertifications: NCMG, CMG
Retired: 2009

Kamoko “Koko” Tanaka

Kamoko (Koko) Tanaka was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan. She studied ballet in Japan. She came to the USA as a professional dancer at Walt Disney World’s Epcot Center. When Koko’s dancing career ended due to an injury, she began searching for another career. After researching several choices, she tried dog grooming. She quickly discovered this was her niche.

Koko began competing in 2003. Three years later she won the Rising Star of the Year award. Since then, she has become well respected in the contest area, winning multiple Best in Shows and Best All Round Groomer awards.

Koko earned her place on GroomTeam USA in 2007 and 2008. In 2009 she had the privilege of representing the United States in the World Team Grooming Championship in Germany. By winning the bronze medal in the hand stripping class, Koko helped her team bring home the Gold for the United States.

She was nominated for the Cardinal Crystal Achievement Award for American Groomer of the Year in 2008.

Koko has retired from the competition ring. Today, you will find her focused on her mobile grooming business. She also enjoys mentoring advanced grooming students from the United States and Japan. Koko is an industry speaker and judge in the USA and in her homeland of Japan.

Koko currently lives in Tennessee. She owns her own mobile grooming business called Koko’s Paws.

Koko's Paws
Ms. Koko Tanaka


More About Kamoko “Koko” Tanaka

What are the two proudest moments of your career?

Talking with fellow groomers whom attended to my seminars told me that they were excellent!   Being a GroomTeamUSA Traveling team member and our team brought back Gold medal to USA.

Are you formally trained, apprenticed, or self-taught?

Formally Trained

What is your favorite breed of dog to groom?


What is your favorite breed of dog to live with?

Small Terriers

What advice can you offer to aspiring pet professionals?

Don’t be too lazy to learn.  Ask questions to other groomers and try their way – sometime trying different way will achieve the same goal easier (…and sometimes not).  And Never doubt yourself.  You can do it!

What do you love to do when you are not working?

Sit on my Adirondack chair and watch my dogs playing in the back yard.

What one thing really ticks you off?

Back stabbing people.  Just tell what you think to that person or don’t say anything to anyone.