The History of 'sukajan' is said to be ‘born’ around post World War II in Japan, when American soldiers stationed in Japan wanted to have some "memories" or souvenirs of their time in war to bring back home, and started to ask for Japanese taylors to design & hand-stitched embroideries on the back of their jacket as a way of remembering their time in the country. It is said to have originated from 'Yokusuka' in 'Kanagawa Prefecture' hence the name 'Sukajan' and the reason why a sukajan is called a ‘souvenir jacket’. Most of the designs showed a mixture of Japanese elements such as that of dragons, tigers, cherry blossoms trees, traditional maps and geishas, etc.
Over time during the 1960-80s, the sukajan evolved into a symbol for those involved in the yakuza and those involved in gangsters or delinquents. Nowadays though, the jacket became a predominantly fashionable yet edgy piece. The sukajan is classified as a high end apparel in the fashion industry due to its very expressive aesthetic and extensive design, traditionally, it took around a month for a tailor to hand sewn fine pieces of satin linen into a delicate embroidery design such as a Tiger Head or Sakura Patches. Fortunately, thanks to modern technology that even complicated designs and patterns can now be easily produced and made comparable to the traditional methods used.
Nowadays, Sukajans have gain the popularity and attention of famous pop-artists ranging from Katy Perry, Pharrell Williams, Harry Styles and Kanye West ETC. Although this iconic fashion may seem very recent into the streetwear market, but it has been experiencing a significant amount of hype within the streetwear & hypebeast community. Meanwhile, outside Japan, the sukajan form has been slowly absorbed and instituted by many high-end fashion designer labels, to name a few - Louis Vuitton, Chloe, Kate Moss, YSL and Gucci are just some of those entities taking a cue from this mix of American and Japanese subculture.
Lately, AKB48 also released their collaboration with "Okuma Shokai ノーキルト" starring in the popular J-Drama Series 'Majisuka Gakuen'.