Next February, an EarthBound (aka Mother 2) embroidered jacket will go on sale in Japan.
This type of jacket is called a sukajan (スカジャン), which are very much Japanese — yet their American roots and influence are undeniable. The jumpers appeared in Japan during the Post War Occupation. American troops began getting Japanese designs sewed into their jackets. During the years following the war, U.S. military fashion was popular in Japan as were G.I.-style crew cuts. The look caught on with the locals.
The origin of the “sukajan” moniker is a bit of a mystery. The name could come from the word “Sky Dragon”, those flying dragons you see in Japanese art and popular culture. Early on, the design was popular for the jumpers, which is why in Japanese, a language that loves to shorten words, “sky dragon jumper” (スカイドラゴンジャンパー) became “sukajan”. There’s another theory that the name comes from “Yokosuka jumper” (横須賀ジャンパー), which was shortened to “sukajan”. Yokosuka was, of course, the home to a U.S. military base and the birthplace of these jackets.
Young blue-collar characters in Japanese manga, anime, and video games are often seen sporting the sukajan.
This particular EarthBound sukajan was originally given to the dev team and other staff members to mark the release of Mother 2. Priced at 88,000 yen ($1,151), this for-sale version is a lovingly recreated, hand-embroidered revival.
Just look at the detail:
Former Nintendo president Satoru Iwata, who worked as a programmer on the game, had his own Mother 2 sukajan and introduced it on the official Nintendo Twitter, writing that it was one of his “prized possessions.”
— 任天堂株式会社 (@Nintendo) March 19, 2013
Those who purchase one of these jackets will no doubt think the same.