The Designer for the Iconic Soy Sauce Dispenser Bottle Dies

Industrial designer Kenji Ekuan dies at age 85.

Hiroshi Fukami
Hiroshi Fukami

Writer / Editor

He works as a freelance writer and editor. His diverse body of work is covered in From the Cradle to the Grave (Yurikago kara Hakaba Made). He enjoys watching J League soccer, baseball, mixed martial arts, and professional wrestling. He also enjoys video games, especially first person shooters, open-world role playing games, and fighting games. His current favorite is Ingress.

It’s always there at a Japanese restaurant, and almost every Japanese consume it everyday. It is so popular, that it is one of the reasons why many Japanese have high blood pressure from too much salt consumption. Many Japanese feel that they are back home at the airport when they smell this. Yes, we are talking about soy sauce.


Kikkoman is one of the most popular soy sauce brands in Japan. It’s share is 30% within Japan, and about 60% in the U.S.A. This couldn’t have been achieved without the soy sauce dispenser bottle that Kenji Ekuan designed.


In 1961, Kikkoman launched the “Kikkoman Soy Sauce Dispenser Bottle for the Table”. It was well accepted by the consumers, because of its design and easy to use structure. This made Kikkoman leading manufacturer for soy sauce. Over 400 million bottles were produced.


Kenji Ekuan worked on the Japan World Exposition in 1970, and he also designed the Akita Shinkansen. He was the front liner in industrial design in Japan.


Kenji Ekuan died from a heart disease on February 8th, 2015. He was 85 years old.


Translated by Yuki Mat.


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