Yokosuka Travel Guide

News 2022.12.22

Yokosuka – birthplace of the “Sukajan” | An interview with Mr Hiromichi Yokochi, a Sukajan painter.


Sukajan (pronounced “ska-jan”) are retro Japanese bomber jackets made of silky fabrics like rayon, satin, and velveteen. Some sukajan are reversible, with a quilted side that keeps the padding in place and gives a design accent. Inspired by baseball jackets, they feature contrasting colour sleeves, quintessentially Japanese designs, and a distinctive silhouette. They use bold colours and carefully crafted, eye-catching embroidery typically on the back of the jacket, but sometimes stitched on both sides.

These iconic Japanese jackets are also known as “souvenir jackets” as they were brought back as souvenirs by American soldiers after the post-war occupation of Japan. 

The name “sukajan” is a hint about the jacket’s origins, as it combines “suka” from the naval base city of Yokosuka and “jan” the Japanese contraction of the word “jumper.” Today, you can find sukajan shops along Yokosuka’s Dobuita Street which leads to the main gate of the U.S. Navy Base. 

In the following interview with Hiromichi Yokochi, a sukajan designer and researcher of the history and culture of the sukajan, we will discuss its origins and ongoing appeal as a fashion item.

Mr Hiromichi Yokochi, a Sukajan painter


I believe there is magic in the patterns of the sukajan

In the first place, I believe that the threads themselves have special power. 

Embroidery is a silent often sacred process, full of emotion and even prayer.

As people sew the threads, they create talismans.

I think there is something special about receiving something made in this way.

Think of shrines and temples where ancient wood is preserved and used.

Ancient wood is valued because it is built up layer by layer giving it a sense of divinity.

The years passed, and successive layers are reminiscent of prayers, aren’t they?

Sukajans are made by artisans devoting copious time and effort. 

The embroidery, with tens of thousands of stitches, allows many unique feelings and emotions to be captured and conveyed.

The Power of Patterns and Embroidery


A sukajan is a combination of patterns and embroidery.

Each “pattern” has a specific meaning.

There is a power in the embroidered pattern, like the weaving culture of the kimono.

Wearing them is a way of protecting yourself.

One way to enjoy this is to choose or create your own personal pattern.

Maybe reflecting your zodiac sign or unique identity and bringing good fortune?Many arabesque patterns had their origins in Persia and were favoured as kimono patterns for weddings and other formal occasions auguring continuity and strength of the bond between partners.

Sukajan Painter Hiromichi Yokochi on Creating Cool Clothes