Happy Birthday, Kenji Ekuan!
Kenji Ekuan turned 75 on September 11, 2004.
Kenji Ekuan, born in 1929, graduated from Tokyo's National University of Fine Arts and Music in 1955. In 1957 he founded GK Industrial Design Associates, from which the GK Design Group emerged. Today, Kenji Ekuan is its chairman. His work includes wide-ranging projects like household objects, furniture, motorcycles and many more. Among the most famous designs of Ekuan are the table bottle for soy sauce (Kikkoman) designed in 1961 and the high-speed train "Akita Shinkansen".
Ekuan understands design as a source for improving the quality of life and emphasizes that objects always need to have a certain spirit alongside functionality in order to be used with pleasure and not just as mere "tools". Among his publications are "The Philosophy of Tools", 1980, "The Buddhist altar and the automobile", 1986, "Soul and Material Things", 1997, and "The Aesthetics of the Japanese Lunchbox", 1998. Since 1998 he has been the chairman of the humanitarian organization "Design for the World". Kenji Ekuan holds important positions in design-oriented associations like the ICSID and the Japan Institute of Design.