VMAX, Kikkoman and Bullet Train: Kenji Ekuan, 1929-2015

Kenji Ekuan was born in Tokyo, raised in Hawaii before moving to Hiroshima at the end of WWII. He was 17 when the atomic bomb was dropped on the city, killing both his father and sister. Among the ruins, he told the Japan Times in 2001, he decided to somehow find the courage to reconstruct the landscape. “For the next few years my dreams were about connecting with the material world through industrial design.” The Japanese designer founded the GK Industrial Design Laboratory in 1957. Among his best known achievements are the iconic Kikkoman soya sauce bottle (1961) and VMAX motorcycle for Yamaha (1985 and 2008) or the Japanese "bullet train" (Narita Express, Komachi Shinkansen, 1997-2009). Kenji Ekuan passed away earlier this month, aged 85.