The man behind Kikkoman soy sauce

Died at age 85, Kenji Ekuan, the inventor of the iconic bottle of soy sauce.

kikkoman-kenji ekuan-arkitalker

The funnel shape and the red cap, now internationally recognized, were designed for the first time by Kenji Ekuan for the company Kikkoman. Ekuan had designed the cap with the two holes on the sides for Kikkoman in 1961. He explained that he had the idea of the small bottle because of an old memory of his childhood: his mother used to pour soy sauce from a big half-gallon bottle to a tabletop dispenser.

kikkoman-kenji ekuan-arkitalker

He had a dramatic storylife: the younger sister killed by the atomic bomb in Hiroshima, his father died a year later for the radiations, so the ravages of war directed him towards the design of everyday objects, the ones accessible to all. He attended the Tokyo University of Fine Arts and later the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena (California) and just last year Ekuan received the Compasso d’Oro award for his achievement.


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