Kenji Ekuan

GK Design Group

Kenji Ekuan, born in 1929, graduated in 1955 from the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. In 1957, he founded GK Industrial Design Associates, which later became the GK Design Group, the chairmanship of which he holds today. Since 1998 he has been chairman of the humanitarian organisation “Design for the World” and also holds important positions in design-oriented associations such as the Icsid, the Japan Design Foundation and the Japan Finland Design Association. Kenji Ekuan has received numerous awards including the 1979 Icsid Colin King Grand Prix, the 1995 Sir Misha Black Medal (England) and the Order of the Rising Sun (Japan) in 2000. The Insignia of Commander in the Order of the Lion of Finland he received in 2004. Kenji Ekuan interprets design activities in terms of their links with the overall picture of Japanese cultural life. He thinks that, “though it is hard to achieve, design’s ideal goal should be to create a good relationship between nature and man-made things.”

Shinkansen Komachi (bullet train), the most recent model developed for operation in northern Japan

References: His major writing is “The Aesthetics of the Japanese Lunchbox”, MIT Press, USA 1998.

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