Former monk who designed the soy sauce bottle and bullet train dies

The Japanese designer responsible for both the classic soy sauce bottle and the bullet train connecting Tokyo to northern Japan and the Narita airport has died, his company said on Monday.

Kenji Ekuan, 85, was the brains behind the sauce dispenser that Kikkoman used in Japan in 1961.

Soy Sauce dispenser Photo: Facebook

The upside-down funnel shape with a red cap was subsequently exported around the globe.

It became the visual shorthand for soy sauce as the craze for Japanese food swept abroad.

The idea came to design a small bottle came from his childhood memory of his mother pouring soy sauce from a big half-gallon bottle to a tabletop dispenser.

Ekuan, who used to be a Buddhist monk, was credited with numerous corporate logos during Japan’s industrial boom era.

For instance, he had a hand in creating the look of Yamaha’s VMAX motorcycles and the Narita Express train that ferries passengers to and from Tokyo’s main international gateway.

Yamaha V-max

Narita Express Train Photos: Facebook, YouTube

A former president of the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design, and a recipient of the council’s Colin King Grand Prix, Ekuan was also made officier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by France.

His homeland awarded him the Order of the Rising Sun.

The company he founded, GK Design Group, said he died on Sunday after suffering from sinus problems. - AFP