No doubt that you will see many Japanese people wearing denim jeans. The global denim jeans industry was valued at over 62 billion USD in 2018 and is set to increase even more in the following decade. As with a sharp increases in the popularity of artisan denim jeans, especially Japanese denim jeans, the denim market is becoming even more popular! Especially among the designers and brands that have quality as the mainstay of their work.

Nowadays, the denim industry implements and touts modern manufacturing methods since many believe these are efficient and cost-effective. However, Japanese denim manufacturing process uses antique machinery and natural hand-dyeing processes. These Japanese denim jeans, inspired by American workwear, have carved out a place in the global denim market. Japanese jeans became famous because of their professional, highly specialized artisan methods. They also offer great reliability along with a beautifully unique fade that signifies quality and timely tradition.

What is special about Japanese denim jeans?

To begin with, Japanese denim jeans were traditionally made using Toyoda looms, named after the infamous Sakichi Toyoda, the founder of Toyota. The use of Toyoda looms allowed Japan’s denim manufacturers to distinguish themselves in the marketplace, and even carve out a unique identity separate from that of American denim. Additionally, these processes include the use of a very specific type of machinery that only a few select craftsmen can use.

The signature look for many Japanese denim jeans is a sturdy, deep indigo-blue. The influence of Japanese tradition took a part in this natural hand-dying process. This unique dying process also produces rugged fabric, slows down the wear and tear of the denim. Furthermore, what is even more remarkable about Japanese denim jeans is that when they start to fade. And the fabric is what makes this incredibly high-contrast.

Compared to American denim, most Japanese selvage denim has a rough surface. The antique looms used to create Japanese denim allows more attention to be given to the threads that make up the garment. Consumers thereupon, could wear these established item for a long amount of time. Furthermore, made-in-Japan denim fabric often goes through a unique post-weave process which results in an irregular and unique texture.

引用:フリー素材

How To Choose For Japanese Denim Jeans

Depending on your character, High-quality Japanese denim jeans are available in a wide range of styles, however, due to the signature manufacturing process of Japanese denim, it’s wise to pay attention to a few key aspects of the jeans you purchase. Among them are:

Fit

The fit of high-quality Japanese denim depends solely on whether or not it has been pre-washed. Be mindful of purchasing denim that has not been pre-washed, as it may shrink following the first wash. Prestigious Japanese denim jeans brands often provide in-store tailoring services. Some Japanese denim jeans stores in Japan sell jeans that have already been pre-washed, and jeans that have a maximum accuracy of the fit.

Color

When shopping for and choosing a pair of Japanese denim jeans, the color is often on a spectrum of deep indigo blue, which comes from the highly remarkable natural dye used by manufacturers in the country. The deep blue color is symbolic of the detail that has been crafted into the jeans. Japanese Denim is like fine wine — age only increases the value. Over time, an attractive contract arises on the denim and other factors that differentiate Japanese denim. The uniquely beautiful fade of Japanese denim jeans is just one reason why they are often incomparable with other jeans manufactured elsewhere in the world.

Weight

Just about every denim enthusiast knows that a heavier weight adds to the longevity of the jeans. Japanese denim made by many brands often clocks in at about 25 ounces per yard, which is quite heavy when compared to the average 14 ounces per yard denim. The weight and quality of the denim explain why Japanese denim is often more expensive. The thicker fabric offers great quality, while at the same time requiring the looms to process more material per piece of clothing, adding to the production costs.

Table of Contents

1) Top 10: TCB
2) Top 9: Studio D’artisan (SDA)
3) Top 8: Sugar Cane
4) Top 7: Samurai Jeans
5) Top 6: Blue Blue Japan
6) Top 5: Oni Denim
7) Top 4: Japan Blue Jeans
8) Top 3: Momotaro
9) Top 2: Iron Heart
10) Top 1: Evisu

High Quality Japanese Denim Jeans #10: TCB

Website: TCB

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In 2008, Hajime Inoue founded TCB in Kojima, Okayama Japan. The denim powerhouse makes all of their garments in house and is based on the vintage look. TCB Jeans aims to reproduce denim using traditional artisan techniques. As a result, the high-quality denim jeans produced by this company are known to stand the test of time and age beautifully. The vintage-inspired company allows TCB to enjoy a cult-like following while keeping it simple and steeped in heritage.

High Quality Japanese Denim Jeans #9: Studio D’artisan (SDA)

Website: Studio D’artisan (SDA)

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In 1979, Shigeharu Tagaki founded Studio D’artisan. The brand is a part of the infamous Osaka Five, which includes Warehouse & Co, Studio d’Artisan, Denime, and Evisu. After working in France, Tagaki returned to Japan and founded Studio D’artisan where he blended European style with high-level Japanese craftsmanship. Studio D’artisan is designed in Osaka and is produced in Okayama, further establishing the brand and its denim as a force to be reckoned with in the denim industry. In effect, Studio D’artisan capitalized off the popularity of classic American Jeans in Japan. Their high-quality denim jeans creation process of course, uses unique techniques and materials, which include the vintage Toyoda looms that ensure quality.

High Quality Japanese Denim Jeans #8: Sugar Cane

Website: Sugar Cane

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Sugar Cane is a popular denim brand that was established by Toyo Enterprise in 1965. The company created denim for the American military stationed in Japan. Sugar Cane became increasingly popular in 1975, mainly due to its distinct craftsmanship. Instead of using 100% cotton fabrics, the brand includes sugar came fibers as well. What’s interesting, is some of their high-quality denim jeans have names after specific places where they grow sugarcane, such as Awa, Okinawa, and Hawaii. Sugarcane primarily focuses on American workwear, and has a vintage look and feel, further allowing them to garner a cult-like following worldwide.

High Quality Japanese Denim Jeans #7: Samurai Jeans

Website: Samurai Jeans

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In 1998, Tohru Nogami founded Samurai Jeans. Samurai Jeans is an innovator in the Japanese denim space. To explain, the brand produces all jeans with a selvage ID and has a unique addition which is a strand of silver lamé that represents the gleam of a samurai’s sword. As a matter of fact, the brand’s story centers around a sword battle from 1619 between two samurai warriors. Thus, elements of the samurai spirit and lifestyle are carefully designed into each piece. Samurai Jeans have a variety of dyes, weights, and IDs, even for the most enthusiastic of denim enthusiasts.

High Quality Japanese Denim Jeans #6: Blue Blue Japan

Website: Blue Blue Japan

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In 1996, Kenichi Iwaya founded Blue Blue Japan under the OKURA brand fashion house in Tokyo, Japan . Blue Blue Japan’s denim has a deeply saturated indigo-blue color, and the line is entirely produced in Japan. The brand also is famous for its high quality and low-tension looms. Furthermore, Japan Blue Blue denim incorporates uniquely Japanese techniques by using exclusive natural dyes and patterns unseen in other places.

High Quality Japanese Denim Jeans #5: Oni Denim

Website: Oni Denim

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Masao Oishi-san founded Oni Denim and its headquarter is in Tokyo, Japan. Oni means “demon” in Japanese. The company runs a very mysterious brand, and it’s jeans are so rare, that there are just a small number of limited stockists worldwide. Oni denim is famous for its unique, irregular texture and extreme attention to detail. Furthermore, the brand’s specialty line includes a specific yarn count and construction. 

High Quality Japanese Denim Jeans #4: Japan Blue Jeans

Website: Japan Blue Jeans

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Japan Blue Jeans was founded in 2010 in Kojima, Okayama, Japan. The brand is under the Japan Blue Group umbrella of companies, which also include COLLECT mill, Momotaro. Japan Blue Jeans produces an array of high-quality Japanese denim jeans, many of which are slim tapers, tight straight, and skinny. In addition, Japan Blue Jeans offers impressive quality, and manufactures denim at a high standard, delivering raw selvage denim for a fraction of the price of other brands.

High Quality Japanese Denim Jeans #3: Momotaro

Website: Momotaro

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In 2005, Hisao Manabe and Masahiro Suwaki founded Momotaro in Kojima Okayama, Japan. Originally as part of the Japan Blue Group, Momotaro’s main production is still in its place of founding, Okayama, Japan. The name of Momotaro comes from Japanese folklore – the story of a small boy that’s born from a peach, before becoming a hero to elder people, encouraging them to rejuvenate themselves. The brand’s high quality is a direct result of the use of special cotton, which holds the deep indigo dye very well.

High Quality Japanese Denim Jeans #2: Iron Heart

Website: Iron Heart

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In 2003, Shinichi Haraki founded Iron Heart. The brand’s headquarters is in Hachioji, Japan. Japanese motorcycle culture influenced Iron Heart’s heavyweight denim. Shinichi Haraki was once a director at Edwin Jeans and established the Iron Heart brand, focusing specifically on the motorcycling lifestyle. The brand incorporates an East meets West philosophy, given that one of its early co-founders, Giles Padmore is from the UK. The biker-culture driven brand continues to be popular among denim enthusiasts. Thanks to the diligent team and friendly customer service, this shop also gains worldwide popularity!

High Quality Japanese Denim Jeans #1: Evisu

Website: Evisu

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In 1991, Hidehiko Yamane founded Evisu Jeans in Osaka, Japan. Hidehiko Yamane’s reported, love of finance and fishing propelled him to name the brand Evisu, after Ebisu, a name taken from Japanese folklore. Meanwhile, Evisu uses traditional Japanese denim making methods, which are very labor-intensive. For this reason, Evisu Jeans popularized Japanese denim all around the world and sparked Japanese interest in high-quality denim Jeans.

Why Japanese Denim Jeans? 

Given these points, crafters make Japanese Denim jeans with the highest quality and craftsmanship, after decades of perfecting the weaving and dyeing process. In fact, Japanese denim manufacturing is an art in itself. These Master craftsmen easily became famous world-wide. It is because of their ingenuity and ability to stick to hard-to-mimic processes that guarantee quality. The Japanese denim mills the craftsmen produce with, result in a very specific and popular hue of indigo-blue denim. After all, each mill has its own unique capabilities and signature style. In short, there’s no secret that the highly-skilled craftsmen, alongside the natural dyes and processes crafted into denim make them highly sought after.

The Art of Selvage Denim

Besides, the machinery to produce jeans in Japan is one of the utmost stylish and heritage-based found anywhere else in the world. In particular, the process of weaving the denim is very slow and takes a very high attention to detail. This process, called selvage denim, typically means that edges of the denim are not frayed and are neatly wrapped in a colored thread, unlike that of denim produced using modern manufacturing equipment. The “selvage line” is symbolic of high-quality denim. It proves that craftsman created jeans with great care, time, and skill, and you could surely realize this by the rolled up denim jeans as well.

The raw heavy denim is often very hard on the old machines which produce Japanese selvage denim. While this may put wear and tear on the machines, each brand that uses the traditional selvage manufacturing method has its distinct look and feel. As a matter of fact, it is this unique texture of Japanese denim that amazes enthusiasts and contributes to Japanese denim high quality, cost, and popularity.

To sum up, Japanese denim jeans are famous worldwide for quality, a uniquely traditional manufacturing process, and the indigo color. The best brands of denim jeans have roots in Osaka and Kojima in Japan and it traces back to the use of antique looms. Surprisingly, denim enthusiasts have never seen artisans and quality as consistent as seen in Japanese denim jeans. Perhaps, this is why Japanese denim jeans companies continue to enjoy their place atop the competitive and unique pyramid of the denim industry.

If you are further interested in shopping, check out the Top 10 Japanese Cosmetics Online Shopping Stores that Ship Internationally or the Top 10 Japanese Kokeshi Doll Online Shops as well!!