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Feb 11, 2015

Monk Turned Bullet Train Designer dies

Tokyo: The japan based bullet train designer Kenji Ekuan has died at age of 85 years. During his life he designed many things ranging from red colored lidded Kikkoman soy sauce bottle to a high speed bullet train. Interestingly he was a Buddhist Monk before taking to designing.

kenji ekuan picture


He became monk after his father died in Hiroshima atom bomb massacre. Before his bottle, there was no concept of packaging design in Japan, but his creation was instrumental in making it common.

In one of the interviews he said that the debris caused by attack always inspired him. It was as if he wanted the wreckage of everyday objects to have a new face. He decided to become a designer.

"Faced with that nothingness, I felt a great nostalgia for human culture," he said. "I needed something to touch, to look at. Right then, I decided to be a maker of things."
Son of a Buddhist priest, Kenji Ekuan graduated from Tokyo's National University of Fine Arts and Music. Later in 1957, he laid foundation of GK Industrial Design Associates through which he kept "democratising" his designs and kept giving them soul to ensure that they are not mere tools.

His company jumped up in popularity chart after it was successful in designing perfect soy sauce bottle for Kikkoman. It is still widely used across the world. The design was inspired by Ekuan's mother struggle to lift and pour large cans of soy sauce. The new deisgn fits easily in the hand, incorporates a spout that does not drip and leaves no mess.

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