Kenji Ekuan

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Kenji Ekuan
Native name
榮久庵 憲司
Born(1929-09-11)September 11, 1929
DiedFebruary 8, 2015(2015-02-08) (aged 85)
Alma materTokyo University of the Arts
OccupationIndustrial designer
OrganizationGK Design Group

Kenji Ekuan (榮久庵 憲司, Ekuan Kenji, September 11, 1929 – February 8, 2015) was a Japanese industrial designer, best known for creating the design of the Kikkoman soy sauce bottle.


Born in Tokyo on September 11, 1929, Ekuan spent his youth in Hawaii.[1] At the end of World War II, he moved to Hiroshima, where he witnessed the atomic bombing of the city, in which he lost his sister and his father, a Buddhist priest. He said the devastation motivated him to become a "creator of things".[2][3] Later he attended Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music (present-day Tokyo University of the Arts). In 1957, he founded GK Industrial Design Laboratory (GKインダストリアルデザイン研究所).[1] "GK" stood for "Group of Koike", as Koike was the name of an associate professor at the university.[4]

In 1970, he became president of the Japan Industrial Designers' Association and five years later he was elected as president of the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design.[5]

During his lifetime he served as chair of the Japan Institute of Design, dean of Shizuoka University of Art and Culture was and a trustee of the Art Center College of Design.[3]

Ekuan died in the hospital in Tokyo on February 8, 2015, at the age of 85.[1]

Selected works[edit]

Products that Ekuan oversaw the design of included the following.

Railway vehicles[edit]


He also served as co-general producer for the World Design Exposition 1989 held in Nagoya.[9]

Honors and awards[edit]

Published books[edit]

  • Kenji Ekuan (1 March 1998). The Aesthetics of the Japanese Lunchbox. Diane Publishing Company. ISBN 978-0-7567-7620-6.


  1. ^ a b c 栄久庵憲司氏が死去 工業デザインの草分け [Pioneering industrial designer Kenji Ekuan dies]. Nikkei Shimbun (in Japanese). Japan: Nikkei. 2015-02-09. Retrieved 2015-02-10.
  2. ^ "From Soy Sauce To Bullet Trains: Famed Japanese Designer Dies At 85". NPR. 2015-02-10. Retrieved 2015-02-09.
  3. ^ a b "Design World Mourns the Loss of Kenji Ekuan". Industrial Designers Society of America. Retrieved 2015-02-11.
  4. ^ "History". Outline. GK Design Group. Archived from the original on 2015-02-18. Retrieved 2015-02-10.
  5. ^ a b "Japanese designer of soy sauce bottle, Kenji Ekuan, dies aged 85". The Straits Times. 2015-02-10. Retrieved 2015-02-11.
  6. ^ a b c d e "The Works of GK Design Group". GK Design Group Inc. Archived from the original on 2015-02-17. Retrieved 2015-02-10.
  7. ^ 工業デザインの第一人者 栄久庵憲司さん死去 [First industrial designer Kenji Ekuan dies]. NHK News Web (in Japanese). Japan: NHK. 2015-02-09. Archived from the original on 2015-02-10. Retrieved 2015-02-10.
  8. ^ "Industrieel designer Kenji Ekuan overleden". The Art Server (in Dutch). 2015-02-09. Retrieved 2015-02-17.
  9. ^ a b c "Japanese designer behind iconic soy sauce bottle dies at 85". ABS-CBN Corporation. 2015-02-09. Retrieved 2015-02-11.
  10. ^ Angus Montgomery (2015-02-10). "Kenji Ekuan, designer of bullet trains and soy sauce bottle, dies aged 85". Design Week. Retrieved 2015-02-11.
  11. ^ "2003 Lucky Strike Designer Award - Kenji ekuan". Raymond Loewy Foundation. Retrieved 2015-02-11.
  12. ^ "Kenji Ekuan - Chairman, GK Design Group". Hong Kong Design Centre. Archived from the original on 2015-02-11. Retrieved 2015-02-11.
  13. ^ "Kenji Ekuan, designer of the classic soy sauce dispenser, dead at age 85". Japan Times. 2015-02-09. Retrieved 2015-02-11.

External links[edit]