Nissan Legend Yutaka Katayama Turns 105 – Happy Birthday to “Father of the Z”

By Steve Laser

Story Update: We’re sorry to report that Mr. Katayama has passed away. See an update to this story at this link.

Long revered as the “Father of the Z” Nissan Legend Yutaka Katayama recently celebrated his 105th birthday in Japan. This is an amazing accomplishment for an automotive executive who lived his life in the fast lane.


Known as “Mr. K” to Datsun and Nissan fans, he’s recognized across America (and the world) for his contributions in making Datsun a powerhouse in sports cars and helping to establish the brand in the U.S.


We wish Mr. K a very Happy Birthday and say “Domo Arigato Gozaimasu” for bringing joy to so many fans of Datsun and Nissan cars and trucks.

The following is courtesy of the Nissan Global Newsroom.

The Life and Times of Nissan Legend Yutaka Katayama

Nissan legend Yutaka Katayama turned 105 in September and granted a rare interview with the Global Media Center in which he reflected on nearly 80 years in the car business. 

Nissan Legend Yutaka Katayama

He made one of the first color films of a Datsun on Japanese roads and later filmed motor sport races across the globe, raising the bar for decades of visual story-telling ahead.

With a love of cars and a flair for promotion, he built the Datsun brand, Nissan’s initial brand name in the U.S., from scratch.

In his storied career, he was team manager as two Datsun 210s were entered in a grueling rally circumnavigating the Australian continent.  The subsequent victory instantly catapulted the brand into worldwide renown and set the stage for Datsun exports.

Notably, he put together the key concepts for the Z-car, contributing significantly to the birth of an exceptional sports car still revered by driving enthusiasts.

News source and photos courtesy of Nissan Motor Corp.

Story on 2014