When cultures clash21 November, 2011 by Chad
If you’ve ever been to any touristy area in Tokyo, or had the misfortune of watching either season of Majisuka Gakuen, then you would had probably have come across these jackets. Sukajan, an acronym for Yokosuka and Jumper refers to these snazzy jackets made popular by their badass appearance.
Sukajans hail from Yokosuka, which is part of the Greater Tokyo area. The town has been the American’s base for naval activities ever since the Japanese defeat in World War 2. It is thought that Sukajans originated from the stadium or varsity styled jackets that the American soldiers wore.
The jackets are just one of the many interesting creations in the clash of two cultures. At some point, the American soldiers started sewing motifs of dragons, phoenixes and other Japanesey motifs onto their letterman jackets and that was how the Sukajan was born.
Sukajan are now a proudly Kanagawa creation that have caught on well with locals and tourists alike thanks to their Yazuka-ish image. In truth, Japan’s most notorious tend to prefer the elegant and more classy look that a simple suit provides but that doesn’t stop many wannabe youths from sporting a Sukajan.
Thanks to their popularity with travelers, you’ll find a ton for sale over at touristy spots like Ueno’s Ameyoko market. There’s an outlet for Okuma Shoukai there, which claims to be the oldest Sukajan shop in Japan. And there does seem to be some evidence to their 60 year claim.
Okuma Shoukai seems to be the main distributor for Sukajans, both local and export wise. The company enjoys a great amount of publicity from many other tie ins with the Japanese celebrity world. Sato Tomohiko wore one for his character in the drama Voice, Toda Erika was seen sporting one in the Death Note movie and Ishikawa Rika appeared in one on the cover of her photo book Shiawase no Ashiato Happy.
Okyuma also happens to be the brand sponsoring the jackets for AKB48’s “four heavenly queens”. Admittedly, I was hoping to get one myself, if only precisely because of Majisuka Gakuen. But the jackets are kind of too gaudy for wear out even by my standards.
You can find Okuma Shoukai’s online store here. Most of their jackets are also available for purchase online through Rakuten (ships globally). Apart from the whole association with AKB48 though, the other shops actually seem to carry nicer and more elaborate designs (as seen in the title image).Planning your holiday? We recommend visiting Agoda for a full list of hotels with early bird specials.
Supermerlion's Webmaster and Editor-in-Chief. Singaporean Nikkeijin with over 12 years of experience in the media industry. Producer at a Japanese entertainment company. Former Web Developer, Graphic Designer, Multimedia Programmer, Manager and Consultant. Shoots with a Canon 5Dmk2 and Sony RX100-2.