Fun Facts About Momotaro Jeans, Japan's Famed Denim Brand | CoolJapan

Originally from Japan's "Jeans Street" — Kojima in Okayama Prefecture — Momotaro Jeans has now catapulted to international fame.

Kojima Jeans Street

Jeans Street is a shopping street in Kojima dedicated to all things denim. (Photo from: JAPAN BLUE)

Everything started with a peach. Located along the Seto Inland Sea on the main island of Honshu, Okayama Prefecture receives an abundance of sunshine and is known for producing a wide variety of fruits, particularly peaches and grapes. But there's another famous “peach” from Okayama who is a local folklore hero, Momotaro, also known as "Peach Boy". According to legend, an elderly childless couple found Momotaro inside a giant peach and raised him as their son. When he grew up, Momotaro became a warrior who defended the land from pillaging ogres and demons. In recent years, however, another famous Momotaro named after the folklore hero has emerged from Okayama.

This jeans brand launched as a single store in the sleepy port town of Kojima in March 2006 but is now available in 23 countries across the world. Learn fun facts about Japan's famed denim brand from Momotaro Jeans PR Manager Katsuya Kimura. Ahead, he shares the brand's beginnings and the reason for their current success.

Kojima is the birthplace of denim in Japan

"Kojima used to be a small island but over centuries of land reclamation, the soil became unsuitable for harvesting rice. As such, the local farmers chose to cultivate cotton instead and over 400 years, developed and refined their cotton weaving techniques.

Jeans Stitching In Kojima

Kojima is well-known for being a city of jeans. (Photo from: JAPAN BLUE)

Denim was first introduced to Japan after World War II by American soldiers. In Kojima, textile factory owners recognised a growing desire among Japanese youth for American products and that’s how the first Japanese denim company was born. The jeans-making process involves many different stages: weaving, cutting, sewing, dyeing, washing and cleaning. Eventually, the different specialists started to congregate in Kojima. From there, Kojima slowly became renowned for its jeans production."

Each pair of Momotaro jeans is made with skilled craftsmanship.

"We have three signature styles: the Dotan, the Shutsujin and the Vintage. Dotan, which means 'copper medicine' in Japanese, is top of the range. Each piece is made with handwoven denim and dyed with natural indigo. We’ve also included intricate Japanese detailing along the seam of the waistline and the inside of the pockets.

Because of the amount of work that goes into each pair of jeans, it retails for JPY220,000/~USD2,069.92. The vintage design is a throwback to the style of the ‘50s and ‘60s, a fuss-free design with no stitching on the back pocket.

Momotaro Folklore Statue

Momotaro Jeans got its inspiration from the eponymous folklore hero. (Photo from: JAPAN BLUE)

The Shutsujin is a nod to the Momotaro legend. Shutsujin is a traditional Japanese battle cry, which is why the design features two white stripes on the back pocket, a reference to the battle flag Momotaro takes with him when he goes to fight on the island of ghosts. This design, which retails at JPY22,000/~USD207, is our bestseller."

The Momotaro flagship store is on the world-famous Jeans Street in Kojima

"Our flagship store on Kojima’s Jeans Street is located in the former post office, which has a unique structure and features a prominent bright red wall where we display the different designs. Jeans Street is a unique concept that started in 2009 and was the brainchild of our founder and CEO, Hisao Manabe.

Momotaro Flagship Store Interior

The Momotaro Jeans store features a prominent bright red wall where the different types of jeans are displayed.

He had an idea to bring together different jeans-related businesses and revitalise this old, abandoned shopping street. All the businesses here are completely original; you won’t find any big-name manufacturers here. The street is located just five minutes from JR Kojima Station and features about 30 stores selling all things denim."