Katou Kazuhiko was born in Kiritappu Village, Hokkaido in 1937. He was the first son of his father Kazue and mother Umeko. Soon after he was born, they moved to Monbetsu where his father began to work at Unomai mine. They moved again so his father could work in Ehime Prefecture at the Besshi copper mine. When he was four or five, they moved back to Kiritappu where his father worked as a school janitor than as a kelp gatherer. Katou would help his father gather kelp and became a strong boat rower.