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AN ICON TURNS 60

Celebrating our beloved dispenser

In Japan, until the late 1950s, soy sauce was usually sold in large 2-liter bottles. At home, people would have to pour it into small pitchers to use it as a condiment at the table. That process was awkward, and the pitchers would inevitably drip and make a mess at the table. 

So, Kikkoman set out to create a modern solution to this centuries-old problem: a reusable, dripless dispenser that would make life easier for consumers. 

The company hired a talented young man named Kenji Ekuan—who would eventually become one of Japan’s most famous industrial designers—to take on the challenge.

Over the course of three years, Ekuan and his team developed nearly 100 prototypes until they finally found the solution: a perfectly balanced bell-shaped bottle with a flared opening that was easy to refill and a signature red cap with two spouts (one for soy sauce to pour out of, the other for air intake) that created a smooth, steady pour and put an end to the problem of dripping forever.

The Kikkoman dispenser debuted in 1961 and went on to sell in the hundreds of millions. Its simple, minimalist design is so perfect, it has remained unchanged for the last six decades—and so revered, it even found a place in the permanent collection of New York’s MoMA.

Pour Your ART Into It!

To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Kikkoman dispenser, we created the “Pour Your ART Into It” contest where we invited fans and followers of Kikkoman to submit a creative design inspired by the dispenser’s shape.

Check out the winners!