The first time I saw this type of jacket I was blown away by the colour and detail crammed into every inch of them. It was only a matter of time until I added one to my wardrobe.
The name Souvenir Jacket was coined in post-war Japan when the occupying forces based in Tokyo would take their clothes to be adorned with traditional Japanese imagery by the local tailors as souvenirs of their time stationed in Japan. The forces were based in Yokosuka so these distinctive jackets were named “Yokosuka Jumpers” which was in turn shortened to Sukajyan which is what they are still called in modern Japanese.
The body of the jacket is silk or rayon and the detail is embroidered directly into the material rather than being sown on patches. Also the vast majority of the jackets are reversible, usually with one side that is heavily detailed and the other a little more toned down for when you don’t want to be quite so conspicuous.
If you fancy picking one up as your own souvenir of Japan then you will be needing to head off to down-town Ueno or Dobuita-Doori where you will see them crammed into shops and stalls like this
Prices vary hugely dependent on the quality of stitching and designer. A real quality Satori piece is going to cost you about 30000 yen and a no-brand one can be had for as low as 2000 yen (but seeing as this is down-town you should chance a haggle) and to be honest apart from the quality of the design the quality of the jackets is pretty much the same.
The current trend is to mix in Japanese designs with western tattoo themes to really edgy results.
As always with anything really “Japanese” in terms of design I would be a bit careful as a foreigner with these jackets as they are often associated with bikers and gangs. I would stick to a design with a bit of a modern or western influence. There is also a really competitive market for authentic 1950’s jackets, but I think even the modern souvenir jackets tell a great story of a very interesting time in Tokyo’s history.