If you've never heard of the phrase "sukajan," you could recognize it by its other names: "souvenir jacket" or "rebel jacket". The sukajan bomber jacket is a sort of silk outerwear that blends a traditional varsity jacket style with dramatic embroidery of Japanese symbols such as tigers, eagles, and cherry blossoms.
In terms of silhouette, they're inspired by the traditional American baseball jackets worn by varsity teams in the 1930s. And because baseball is so prevalent in Japan, it's no surprise that this kind of clothes has taken off. If you are still confused about the sukajan bomber jacket, hear this example out: you probably have seen Ryan Gosling wearing a sukajan bomber jacket in his blockbuster movie Drive(2011). It was a white silk quilted bomber jacket with a golden scorpion embroidered on the back.
This puffy and loose, ribbed-collared and cuffed-sleeved, cropped, and embroidered jacket is more than simply a striking fashion statement; it's an item that retells your Japan experience. At least, that's how it started — and it's still how a lot of sukajan wearers use it now.
Origins of Sukajan Bomber Jacket
Sukajan bomber jackets, like most popular fashion designs, have a long and rich cultural history. Simply looking at the name will give you a hint as to where it came from. The term is thought to be a combination of the end half of the naval base city's name, Yokosuka, and the beginning half of the Japanese katakana translation for "jumper," which is "jan." When you put it all together, you get "suka-jan."
Let's go back to World War II, when Yokosuka, in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, was one of the first few naval bases in the country. The original inventors of this unusual embroidered style were essentially American GIs. It was, in reality, a single American serviceman who started it all. When their siege ended, he had the great idea of having his regular bomber jacket embroidered, transforming something that was seen as a sign of war into a priceless gift. As soon as they saw this imaginative beauty, his fellow service members followed suit.