Yutaka Katayama

Yutaka Katayama, father of the Fairlady Z, dies at 105

Nissan North America issued a statement in memoriam of Yutaka Katayama, Nissan USA’s first president and known as the father of the Fairlady Z, who passed away on February 19 at the age of 105.

Katayama was born in Shizuoka in 1909. He joined Nissan in 1935 and was assigned to publicity and advertising. In 1954, he became instrumental in the inauguration of the first Japanese auto show now known as the Tokyo Motor Show.

Katayama is notably known for the first generation Fairlady Z. He became the first president of Nissan USA in the early 1960s. He eagerly lobbied for Nissan’s Japanese headquarters to build a new sports car for the American market that anyone could freely drive.

That sentiment came into fruition with the birth of the first generation Fairlady Z in 1969. It was badged as Datsun Z in the United States and was a a big hit. Because of his achievements, he was familiarly known as ‘Mr. K’.

Nissan North America issued the following statement on February 21: “Yutaka Katayama (Mr. ‘K’) was a passionate ambassador for the Datsun and Nissan brands. He spent more than 80 years in the Japanese and American auto industries. We are grateful for his service to Nissan and his passion for our brands.”

(Translated by Katherine N. Bantiles)