Legacy of the American-Japanese culture, the souvenir jacket, or “Sukajan” in japanese, was what American soldiers brought back from Japan after World War II. According to some people, the word “Sukajan” comes from the contraction of the words “Yokosuka” and “Jumper”, pronounced with a japanese accent.
During the 60s, this jacket became a rebellion symbol among post-war youth and japanese working class, and today it’s trendy again. From Ryan Gosling in Drive to the brands that keep recreating it (Louis Vuitton, Valentino, Comme des Garçons) the souvenir jacket has become a fashion essential, a smart mix of Asian inspirations and modern trends.
But WHERE can you find your souvenir jacket ?
As for me, I went where it all started to seek mine: Japan. The youngsters in the Land of the Rising Sun are really fashion-friendly.With thousands of shops in Tokyo, finding THE souvenir jacket wasn’t an easy task.
In Japan, thrift stores are a common thing. I saw so many different styles and trends that seemed to travel through time, from the simple straight jeans to the flared pants and hawaiian shirts. I was really amazed by how original the Japanese people could be ! So Japanese thrift stores are a really good place to find a souvenir jacket that has its own story. But careful about its condition ! You can also find a souvenir jacket in Yokosuka, just south of Tokyo, a former Navy base where American culture is still strongly present.
But if you want to stay in Tokyo, Harajuku and Shibuya are the best places to find unique jackets. I aslo bumped into some jackets in Nakano Broadway, Takeshita-douri and Okuma Shoukai Ameyoko market, a store well known for its Sukajans. However, I can’t give you any precise location there. I was only there for two weeks, and unfortunately I didn’t have the chance to go in every thrift store or every store in the country where I had a chance to find the jacket of my dreams.
Around the end of the trip, still looking for the perfect jacket, my friends and I randomly entered in a small shop near Harajuku, on the first floor of an Undefeated shop. At first I was quite astonishe because it sold items from Kanye’s Pabli Pop-up Store. I honestly thought it was counterfeit, but pictures of the store owner in line at the Paris Pop Up Store proved me wrong.
After a few minutes of looking around the tiny store, à ma grande surprise, I ran into a large choice of vintage souvenir jacket in perfect condition. It was a tough decision, but I came back from Japan with a Golden reversible Sukajan with a phoenix on the back branded Classic Japanese Script.
Some addresses in Tokyo :
+8 Paris Rock Japan : 〒150-0001 Tokyo, Shibuya, Jingumae, 4 Chome−32-8 2F
Junky Spécial : 1F, KM Shinjuku Bldg. 2-46-5 Kabuki-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0021
Sunhouse Japon : 〒150-0041 Tokyo, Shibuya, Jinnan, 1 Chome−16−3,
Some addresses in Yokosuka :
Prince Shokai : 2-4 Honcho, Yokosuka-shi, Kanagawa 238-0041
First Shokai : 2-5 Honcho, Yokosuka-shi, Kanagawa 238-004
And if you don’t have the time for a trip to Japan, here are some affordable souvenir jackets :