Did you Know: Skyline, Ken and Mary

200_sl02.jpgThe C10 Skyline is commonly known as Hakosuka, and you think it might mean “Deadly Wind” or “Shark” or something like that because the word sounds tough….but actually it just means Box-Skyline, Hako means Box and Suka is just a truncation of the first syllable of Skyline (but given the Japanese pronounciation where you would pronounce “Sky” as “Su-ky”). But the following generation of Skyline, the C110 is commonly known as “Kenmeri” or “Ken and Mary”, which is even more bizarre.

Why, I hear you ask? It’s an excellent question.

200_kenmary2.jpgIn the 1970s, Nissan had a great marketing idea where all of the Skyline commercials for that generation of Skyline would follow a certain theme. For the 1977-1981 Skyline C210, it was “I Love Japan” which is why that generation of Skyline is often referred to as “Skyline Japan”.


200_skyline_1972_05_000000.jpgBut for the C110, Nissan’s commercials all featured a groovy, long haired couple called Ken and Mary. Dressed in wardrobe leftovers from That 70s Show, the commercials would all show Ken and Mary running through fields of heather, painting portraits, taking walks on the beach (ie all the things people did in the 70s in their Skylines), before returning to their C110 for the end of the commercial. It obviously worked, since the whole generation of C110 Skylines is referred to universally as Kenmeri. Even the GT-R version. And the Ken and Mary umbrella logo (and frequently Ken and Mary themselves)would appear on Skyline catalogs, etc.

200_skyline_1972_05_000005.jpgThroughout the 70s, Ken and Mary didn’t remain the same. They started off in the first commercials with a pair of very young white actors, but towards the end Ken and Mary would be played by more eurasian looking actors who looked like they could be a bit of both.


And here’s one from DailyMotion (Link).

200_skyline_1975_10_000113.jpgSo influential were the Ken and Mary commercials, that the countryside Hokkaido location of some of the commercials has become a minor tourist attraction, with the focus being the “Ken and Mary Tree” which can be seen in many of the commercials.


The Ken and Mary background song from the commercials even became a pop hit in the early 70s and to this day is a popular karaoke standard….well would you rather listen to this, or the 240Z Theme Song!


Here’s a commercial for the C210 Skyline, where an older, more grownup Ken and Mary make an appearance….


This post is filed under: Did You Know?, nissan.

7 Responses to Did you Know: Skyline, Ken and Mary

  1. Lachy says:

    The song title is “Ai no Skyline” meaning “I Love Skyline” πŸ˜€ And it is a beautiful song!! I was given the full translation, however, my cousin lost it. Long story. Anyway, if you look at any of the period catalogues there is an amazing amount of stuff you could buy with Ken & Mary on it, from t-shirts to deck chairs. It really was a huge hit and Nissan sure milked it for all its worth.

  2. Kev says:

    You mean like a Ken and Mary Skyline Badminton set? πŸ™‚


    I’m still looking for the Ken and Mary hi-lift camshafts and triple carb kit however πŸ˜€

  3. RatDat says:

    I used to have a series of the Ken & Mary adverts on VHS. I think there were 13 of them. Unfortunately, I lent it out and never got it back πŸ™

    The music was done by a band called Buzz and it is a great song. It is available on CD too!


  4. Hi, this is Mary, Diane Krey-Wesley. This is the first time I’ve seen this article. I lived in Japan as a teenager and was the 1st Mary. I wish I had bought all the Ken & Mary stuff!!! I have a Jacket and a knit cap that were gifts from a trip I took to Japan 5 years ago. I’m ready to go back !!!

    • Kellen says:

      Hi Diane! Those 70’s Skyline commercials were so lovely – I think everyone falls a little in love with your β€˜Skyline Mary’ even today. Hope to meet you someday at
      one of the SoCal car shows!

  5. Hi, This is Diane again. I’m going to NIsmo in December this year. 12,2,2018

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