Yokosuka Dobuita Street "GREEN" manager talks about the origin, history and present of "Sukajan"

Yokosuka Dobuita Street "GREEN" manager talks about the origin, history and present of "Sukajan"


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"Sukajan'' is a jumper made of satin or velveteen fabric with embroidery of oriental designs such as eagles, tigers, and dragons.

The origin of the "Sukajan'', which has recently received widespread attention in the fashion scene, is surprisingly old, dating back to the late 1940s, just after World War II.

Sukajan was originally called ``souvenir jacket'' or ``souvenir jacket,'' and as its name suggests, it was sold as a ``souvenir'' in Yokosuka and other cities where the US military was stationed after the war.

(↑Scenery of Yokosuka Dobuita Street around the 1950s. Collection: Dobuita Shopping District Shopping District Promotion Association)

Among American soldiers, embroidered designs such as the eagle, tiger, and dragon, which have a distinctly oriental feel, have become popular, and it has also become fashionable for soldiers to have their clothing made to order with the emblem of the naval unit to which they belong or the design of an aircraft carrier. became. American soldiers brought ``souvenir jackets'' back to the United States as commemorative souvenirs of their time stationed in Japan. The popularity of souvenir jackets was at its peak during the period from the Korean War to the Vietnam War, when many American soldiers were stationed in Yokosuka.

(↑ Yokosuka Dobuita Street around the 1950s. A U.S. Navy sailor riding a bicycle. Collection: Dobuita Shopping District Shopping District Promotion Association)

Times have changed and in the 1970s, ``souvenir jackets'' began to attract attention among young Japanese people, and popular actors began to appear on screen wearing ``souvenir jackets'' in movies and dramas. I did. Around that time, ``souvenir jackets'' became known as something that could be obtained in Yokosuka, and young Japanese people began to nickname them ``sukajan'', which means ``jumpers sold in Yokosuka.''

(↑ Yokosuka Dobuita Street in the 1960s, in front of Rose Shokai, the only souvenir shop that still exists today. Collection: Dobuita Shopping District Shopping District Promotion Association)

In the 1990s, American casual wear (so-called "American casual") became popular among young people, and large quantities of used clothing such as jeans and shirts were imported from the United States to Japan. Among the old American clothes packed in a huge container were ``souvenir jackets'' that had once been brought back from Japan, and there were many ``souvenir jackets'' that had returned to Japan after 30 to 40 years. . Some manufacturers have started reproducing nostalgic "souvenir jackets" in Japan, using the patterns of those old clothes as materials.

(↑ Yokosuka Dobuita Street around the 1960s. U.S. Navy sailors walking in front of a live music venue. Collection: Dobuita Shopping District Shopping District Promotion Association)

Then, in the 21st century, sukajans were not only popular in Japan, but also began to attract attention in the global fashion scene, with European fashion brands introducing their own designed sukajans at events such as the Paris Collection. It becomes. In addition, ``Sukajan'' used to symbolize fashion with a ``strong'' and ``cool'' image, but today it has become popular as a fashion item among young women, and has become ``cute'' and ``cool''. Dressing well has become popular.

(↑ Yokosuka Dobuita Street around the 1960s A U.S. Navy sailor cheerfully poses for the camera. Collection: Dobuita Shopping District Shopping District Promotion Association)

``Sukajan'' from Yokosuka has a tradition and history of over 70 years, and is a fashion item that continues to be made even today in the 21st century, and continues to spread trends to the world.

We would be very happy if you could feel the history and story of Yokosuka in the sukajan and wear it freely and happily.


What is Tailor Toyo® Sukajan?
Its roots and brand history

Toyo Enterprises Co., Ltd. was established in 1965 in Sumida Ward, Tokyo. However, its history begins with its predecessor company, Kosho Shokai, which was founded in the 1940s. Shortly after the war, GHQ dismantled the handful of zaibatsu that dominated Japan's economic world as part of its policy to revitalize economic activity. One of the companies that was born as a result of this was ``Ko-Sho'', which imported and exported fabrics and other goods.

In the immediate post-war chaos, the Ginza area at the time was filled with stalls catering to U.S. military officers, filled with U.S. soldiers wanting traditional Japanese items such as kimonos and obi obi as souvenirs. After witnessing the sight of American soldiers gathering at the street stalls, an employee of a port merchant devised a jumper with oriental embroidery as a souvenir. This was the moment when the ``Japanese clothing'' now known as ``Sukajan'' was born.

The shape is modeled after a baseball jacket that is familiar to Americans, and the embroidery is commissioned to craftsmen in Kiryu and Ashikaga. At that time, it was difficult to obtain silk thread due to post-war supply controls, so the fabric used was acetate, which is similar to silk. When port merchants sold them at their street stalls, they quickly became popular. Eventually, the jacket caught the attention of a purchasing agent at PX (a store on U.S. military bases) and was delivered to bases all over Japan, and its popularity even spread to U.S. military bases overseas.

If you look at the delivery slip from that time, the product name is SOUVENIR JACKET, and in the 1950s, the heyday of Sukajan, Minato Sho accounted for 95% of the Sukajan deliveries to US military bases PX. It was moderate. From the 1970s onwards, it spread among young Japanese people due to their admiration for America and the fact that Japanese actors and stars wore them, and the term ``Sukajan'' (Yokosuka Jumper) became popular because it was sold around the U.S. Navy Yokosuka Base. (abbreviated) came to be called.

"Tailor Toyo" started as a port merchant and has been making souvenir jackets for many years. It can be said that this brand is an original, as it continues to inherit sukajan as a culture rather than a passing fad.
(Text & Photo quoted from Taylor Toyo Manufacturer Catalog)
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