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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Temple chapter.

I spent most of my summer break learning about Japanese Americana, Japan’s spin on American fashion. Japanese Americana first emerged with the presence of American soldiers in post-World War II Japan.  

I know, post-World War II attire is not what you would think a twenty-year-old college student finds fashionable, but believe me, it is.  

By the 1960s, non-military American clothing started circulating in Japan along with American media like magazines and movies brought by the soldiers, according to a 2021 article by Grailed. By 1965, Japanese photographers Shosuke Ishizu, Teruyoshi Hayashida, and Toshiyuki Kurosu were captivated by American fashion, but more specifically, Ivy League student fashion. They released a photo book titled “Take Ivy,” which intensified the public’s interest in American clothing.  

Initially, the popularization of American media and garb caused an increase in the importation of American clothing in Japan. However, in the 1970s, the quality of American clothing began to decrease since multiple corporations moved their manufacturing out of the U.S., said fashion YouTuber, Drew Joiner in his video “How Japan Saved American Style.” As a result, Japanese businesses decided to stop importing clothing from the U.S. Instead, they began to manufacture their own garments in Japan inspired by the quality that American clothing once had. And so Japanese Americana was born. 

Some key items in Japanese Americana: 

Selvedge denim jeans 

Selvedge refers to self-edge or self-finished fabric. Selvedge denim is appreciated by fashion enthusiasts because it is an old-fashioned way of weaving denim. Raw denim, which is denim that has not yet been washed, is also popular among Japanese-Americana lovers.   

Bomber jackets 


Denim jackets  

Work Boots 

If I’m being honest, I learned about Japanese Americana by accident. I came across Joiner’s YouTube channel in July as I was looking for sneaker recommendations. My intention was to pass by his channel and move on to the next YouTuber, but I just never made it out. I found his video “Trendy vs Timeless (How to build the perfect wardrobe),” which is also responsible for the hundreds of dollars I spent on New Balances this summer. After watching that video, I fell in a loop of Drew Joiner’s content until I eventually found his video “Understanding Japanese Americana.”  

I went from watching every video Joiner had on Japanese Americana to endlessly watching TikToks about it and saturating my “Outfits” Pinterest board with selvedge denim and boots. Although Japanese Americana was initially thought of as men’s fashion, I still found aspects of this fashion genre that I wanted to incorporate into my personal style. Imagine saying: “I have a pair of selvedge raw denim jeans.” Who says that? I want to be that person.  

These are some Japanese-Americana brands and websites: 

  1. Bleeding Indigo 
  1. Repaired Rags 
  1. Sugar Cane 
  1. Kapital 

Japanese Americana is a rich fashion style that not only provides fresh, fashionable looks but also carries a historical cross-cultural significance. Although I probably spent more time than I should’ve researching this style over the summer, I’m happy to have a few specific garments that I can look for when upgrading my wardrobe.  

Rosamelia is a journalism student at Temple University. Her interests include reading, fashion, and social justice. When she's not writing for Her Campus, you can find her reviewing books on her bookstagram: @amelias_biblioteca.