TOKYO – It's a simple glass bottle with a red top that has become a symbol of soy sauce in Japan and much of the world.
More than half a century after its creation, the Kikkoman soy sauce bottle remains a familiar and comforting shape on restaurant and dining room tables in many countries.
Sumi Murayama, 71, has purchased soy sauce in the bottles since she opened a Japanese restaurant in Tokyo 40 years ago.
"The best part of the bottle is its smart red cap, which doesn't drip," she said. "Its simplicity perfectly fits a downtown restaurant like this."
The bottle's designer, Kenji Ekuan, died Saturday of a heart condition at age 85. He had said he wanted to design a small soy sauce bottle that could be used conveniently for both cooking and serving because of childhood memories of his mother pouring sauce from a heavy 2-liter (half-gallon) bottle into a tabletop dispenser. He also designed a Yamaha motorcycle, high-speed trains and audio equipment.
Kikkoman, the world's largest soy sauce brewer, said the bottle helped bring its brand out of the kitchen into restaurants and dining rooms. It says it has sold 400 million bottles around the world since its creation in 1961.