Don't feel bad if you didn't know, I didn't know who he was either before today. If you did know then kudos for being all up in your designer knowledge of things. (That makes no sense I know).
Kenji's life sounds quite extraordinary and he designed something that I can safely say you've interacted with more than once or at the very least seen more than once in your life. This perfect piece of design...
Yep, told ya. He also designed Yamahas and the Bullet Train and a pile of other things. A couple of years back the New York Times did a piece on him, you can read that here.
Just 16 and recently released from a naval academy, Kenji Ekuan witnessed Hiroshima’s devastation from the train taking him home. “Faced with that nothingness, I felt a great nostalgia for human culture,” he recalled from the offices of G. K. Design, the firm he co-founded in Tokyo in 1952. “I needed something to touch, to look at,” he added. “Right then I decided to be a maker of things.”
Kenji Ekun died today at the age of 85. I never heard of him until he died, yet unknowingly I and you had in a way connected with him through that soy sauce bottle, So I figured you should know about him.