Elected F.R.S. 1989
Kenichi Fukui was born in Oshikuma, Nara, Japan, on 4 October 1918. He was the eldest of three boys of Ryoukichi, his father, and Chie, whose family name before marriage was Sugisawa. Ryoukichi Fukui, who graduated from the Tokyo Commercial Institute (later Hitotsubashi University), was a merchant who traded with foreign countries and also managed a factory making precision instruments. He liked fishing and often took Kenichi with him, and was a member of the National Geographic Society—the National Geographic Magazine was one of the most important magazines of Kenichi's childhood. Chie graduated from Nara Women's College and was an affectionate mother of her boys. She never forced them to study but provided a studious environment. For example, she bought for her children the complete works of Souseki Natsume, a famous Japanese novelist, whose books Kenichi was very fond of reading.