A beautiful, ever-celebrated sports car runs through the Tokyo-Nagoya Expressway in a morning glow. The driver who operates the car looks young and cheery. A stream of old and new models of “Z” cars (Japanese name: “Fair Lady Z”) – about one thousand strong – is destined for the fans event site. Coming as far as 600 miles from Aomori to join in, what they have been looking forward to is the feature of the father of “Z” – Mr. Yutaka Katayama, also known as Mr. K. They are moved by Mr. K’s words, and enjoy networking and touring backward and forward.
“Z” was a challenging project – thinking through the U.S. market, with which he stood face to face from scratch, Mr. K enlisted volunteer design department crews to work in secret. The project was completed in 1969. Focusing on harmony with Americans in sales and service, he made it bloom beautifully. “Love cars, love people, love life!” – Car enthusiasts around the world understood his heart.
The number of Z Car Club branches has reached 60 in the U.S. and 20 in Europe. For the 25th anniversary in 1995, 18,000 cars in total participated in a parade tracing the letter Z across the North American continent. Invited to appear at the finish line, Mr. K was greeted with unanimous cheers. The Makoto integrity he maintained has knitted people’s ties in a way that goes beyond viewing cars merely as products.

Yutaka Katayama

Born in Shizuoka Prefecture in 1909. Raised in Kamakura, after Shonan High School, graduated from Keio University. Joined Nissan Motor Corporation in 1935. Enlisted in the army as a guardsman in 1937. Served at Manchukuo Nissan Motor Corporation when World War II ended. Took charge in promoting Nissan’s publicity during its developing period after the war. Came to the U.S. in 1960 and became the president of Nissan Motor Corporation U.S.A. in 1965. Left the position in 1977. He was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 1998. Living in Tokyo.
Cooperation: D.S.C.C. (Datsun Sports Car Club) Chubu Branch

19 February 2015, Mr. Katayama died (aged 105). He was survived by his wife, Masako, two sons and two daughters, 11 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren. RIP Mr.K, our greatest leader.

This article originally appeared in “Shinsei” magazine, May 2011 issue,
published by RINRI Institute of Ethics. Partially rewritten to update for this
internet release.

Spirit and Spine
‘Kitohone’

created by
THE SPIRIT AND SPINE
CREATIVE FORCE,Tokyo

project direction
Gaku Okubo (ISUKE INC.)
photography
Yoshitomo Tanaka (Vivot)
site design
ISUKE INC. and ICA
title calligraphy
Kenryo Hara (Kikkokai)