Jeans 1996

  1. Introduced from the U.S.A., jeans are now firmly entrenched in Japan. They were first introduced to Japan sold at "America Iryo-ten" and alos by Mr. Ozaki, who began peddling imported blue jeans from the U.S.A. door to door on his bicycle. Mr. Ozaki, who was the president of the Ozaki Clothes Company, which produced student uniforms, also began selling jeans in Kojima City, Okayama Prefecture. Ozaki Clothes Company is now the Big John Company Ltd. Mr. Ozaki was chastised for peddling "hobo-like slacks." He realized that in order to launch a successful enterprise he would need to make jeans that fit the Japanese physique. It was the start of jeans manufacturing in Japan.

  2. As the demand for jeans expanded, more and more jeans were imported from the U.S.A. and domestic manufacturers began to produce jeans that fit Japanese figures and the demand for jeans grew. Sales exploded because of the appeal that the simple, casually styled jeans had for the younger generation. "Big John" was followed by a brother enterprise, "Bobson", which began to manufacture jeans. These two companies succeeded by effectively sharing production and sales: Big John dealt with standard blue jeans, and Bobson colored jeans. This was the initial stage of the blue jean industry in Japan. Then, Edwin & Co. joined in.

  3. Competition heated up with the the Japanese market by entry of companies like "Levi' Strauss" and "Wrangler." It didn't take long before "Levi's" and "Wrangler" started the licensed production of jeans instead of importing jeans. The Japanese consumers' fascination with the brand names made this possible.

  4. In 1994, the gross production totals of trousers (including blue jeans, color jeans, skirts, and shorts) reached approximately 73,420,000 units. Jean jackets amounted to 8,530,000 units. A breakdown of the production figures for jeans follows:

    Type Consumer Breakdown Units
    a)Blue jeans Men
    Women
    Children
    24,490,000
    16,400,000
    2,170,000
    b)Color jeans Men
    Women
    Children
    10,760,000
    12,040,000
    1,190,000
    c)Shirts, short pants
    Men
    Women
    Children
    650,000
    4,170,000
    1,550,000

    From 1988 to 1994, the total production remained stable at 80 to 83 million units.
    *The above figures obtained from the Senken Newspaper Company.

  5. Independent statistics of jeans are not available, thus, the exact amout of jeans imported into Japan is only speculation. Due to the the licensed production of jeans in Japan, the figures for imported jeans appear to be low.

  6. As of July 1996, the five top-ranking manufacturers and their approximate annual sales in Japan are as follows:

    Company Sales(*)
    Edwin (Japan) 40
    Levi's (USA) 30
    Wrangler(USA) 25
    Bobson (Japan) 20
    Big John(Japan)
    10
    Total 125

    (*) Figures are in billions of yen

  7. The materials that have been used for jeans vary greatly. Such materials as cotton denim, corduroy, velveteen, nylon/cotton, rayon, artificial leather coating, Tencel(cellulose type), Tafcel/cotton, suede, satin, and the like have been used.

  8. Business success depends upon the following.

    a)Brand-names. The Japanese consumers are very brand conscious.
    b)How well the jeans fit the Japanese physique.
    c)Continual introduction of new materials. The competition over innovative materials will continue.

  9. At a certain supermarket, jeans that are made of materials that firm-up the buttocks and have higher placed pockets serve to make the hips more attractive have recently begun to be sold and are appropriately called, "Hip up Slim Jeans". This construction is also utilized in some popular brassiere styles.

  10. We are sometimes asked by overseas license holders whether they would be able to begin to parallel import to Japan. In most cases, the answer to such inquiries is that exports to Japan are generally not permitted. For instance, "Wrangler" jeans that are mede in the Philippines must first obtain the permission of the Japanese branch of "Wrangler" jeans, then the Philippine license holders need to ascertain whether this permission is limited to manufacturing and sales within the Philippines or allows for the selling and export of its' products to other countries. Many times, exporting would mean a violation of the issued licenses.



- Back to Previous Page -