Japanese Souvenir Jackets or more famously known as the “Sukajan” (Skajang/Skajan) trace their roots during the World War II when the American troops stationed in the Pacific have wanted to have some “memories” or souvenirs of their foreign assignments to bring back home to mainland. It has sort of become a solidarity uniform or remembrance of their posts and service in the war and their comrades with whom they have spent some of the bravest time of their lives. It is said to have originated from Yokusuka in Kanagawa Prefecture where its name is thought to have come from – “Suka” from Yokosuka and “Jan” from the Japanese term Jumper or ジャンパー or jacket in layman’s term. The famous maker of them during that time is the staunch brand, TOYO Enterprises, which still exists until today.
Artwork by Little Miss Paintbrush
Nowadays, Sukajans have again invaded the wardrobe and closets of famous pop-artists ranging from Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, Pharell Williams, Harry Styles and the like – enjoying a massive cult-following among these personalities’ fans. Although this iconic fashion street wear, have been experiencing a more-or-less 5-to-7-year cycle of hyping up and down annals of Street Fashion, for sure, it is here to stay and remain a staunch form and expression of one’s strong inclination and personal statement towards fashion.
In short, for the avid fan and collector of fashion iconic pieces, more specifically, Japan-orginated ones, having 1 or 2 of these sukajan will definitely pay in the long run as they have become treated like vintage and antique collectibles that is bound for many generations to enjoy. The main reason for this is that, for each lot and design, even until now, makers usually do not make more than 200 pieces of each design including all sizes which explains the rarity and value among them.
Secondly, more than just a piece of fashion, the reflect the mood of the time they are made and released. Sukajan these days have design themes DNAs inspired by Edo Period Japonisme Arts and cultural elements like Ukiyoe, Shunga, Maiko/Oiran/Geisha and the modern interpretation of the oriental zodiac signs and similar motifs as well.