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By Jamie Ducharme
June 6, 2018
A man works a weaving machine at the Momotaro Jeans  in Kurashiki, Japan.
A man works a weaving machine at the Momotaro Jeans in Kurashiki, Japan.
Chris McGrath—Getty Images

Jeans scream Americana, but the world’s denim capital may actually be situated a world away.

Industry insiders and fashion magazines have long revered Japanese jeans, thanks to their rough fabric, distinctive fade, crease lines and laser-sharp attention to detail. These days, luxury Japanese denim brands have attracted a cult following of customers willing to pay hundreds, and even thousands, of dollars for the perfect pair of jeans. Momotaro Jeans, for example, sells pants made on a hand-operated shuttle loom for $2,000 a pair, the Wall Street Journal reports.

“American tradition made better? Many people have said that to us. We’re not thinking about making something American,” Momotaro Jeans general manager Tatsushi Tabuchi told the Journal.

Japanese denim brands such as Samurai, Big John and Needles have also been highlighted recently by fashion magazines such as Vogue.

Can’t afford to drop $2,000 on a pair of jeans? Momotaro also sells hand-made jeans at a the relative bargain price of around $300, and mass-market brands such as Gap, Everlane and Uniqlo use Japanese denim in their products — at a more affordable price point.

Advertiser Disclosure

The purpose of this disclosure is to explain how we make money without charging you for our content.

Our mission is to help people at any stage of life make smart financial decisions through research, reporting, reviews, recommendations, and tools.

Earning your trust is essential to our success, and we believe transparency is critical to creating that trust. To that end, you should know that many or all of the companies featured here are partners who advertise with us.

Our content is free because our partners pay us a referral fee if you click on links or call any of the phone numbers on our site. If you choose to interact with the content on our site, we will likely receive compensation. If you don't, we will not be compensated. Ultimately the choice is yours.

Opinions are our own and our editors and staff writers are instructed to maintain editorial integrity, but compensation along with in-depth research will determine where, how, and in what order they appear on the page.

To find out more about our editorial process and how we make money, click here.

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