Photo: SoraNews24

Business trends suggest young Japanese people just aren’t into jeans any more

By SoraNews24

A realization that comes with age is that old people don’t really dress like old people. We just dress like we always have, but the fashions themselves become old without us either noticing or caring.

Despite this, one item of clothing that we always assumed was timeless was a good old pair of jeans. Durable, simple in design, and all decked out in pockets, these pants seemed to have endured the test of time longer than a great deal of garments.

However, troubling news from the fashion centers of Tokyo may suggest that denim’s days are finally numbered. January of 2021 saw the closure of the iconic JEM store in Shibuya, the flagship store of the Jeans Mate chain, after 30 years in business.

▼ The old JEM store, fittingly surrounded by crows. It’s a Blue Star Burger now.


Although the closure could be attributed to a number of factors, some news reports saw it as further evidence of jeans’ demise. To support this, the website Urban Life Metro cited that the number of pairs sold per year in Japan has shrunk by 30 percent over the past 20 years. They also referred to the variety show "Getsuyo Kara Yofukashi," which ran a segment in 2020 titled, “Young People Moving Away From Jeans.” In the segment, one young man who was interviewed said, “I don’t have a single pair of jeans.”

My initial reaction to the theory was disbelief, and that people were just making a mountain out of a molehill. However, I was very surprised to find a wave of anti-jeans sentiment in online comments about the news.

“I haven’t worn jeans in about 10 years. They’re heavy, stiff, difficult to dry, and have no functionality. Not worth wearing.”

“Only science nerds and otaku wear them, right?”

“I don’t want to wear something so hard and heavy. I also don’t like how those ripped jeans look on girls. Just wear shorts.”

“I stopped wearing them too. I think it’s because the pockets are too small for my smartphone.”

“They’re really bad for the environment.”

“They’re good for camping, because they’re hard to tear or burn. I don’t wear them much in the city though.”

“After losing a lot of weight I decided to try some, but they were really uncomfortable so I threw them away.”

“The jeans section at Uniqlo is still really big.”

While it’s becoming more apparent that jeans really are becoming old-people clothes in Japan, the good news for those pants is that there’s an awful lot of old people in Japan. That means they probably won’t disappear for a very long time.

Source: Urban Life Metro, Hachima Kiko

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- New documentary reveals the world of Japanese denim【Video】

-- DIY-ers in Japan find awesome and adorable ways to recycle denim jeans 【Pics】

-- Legendary anime voice actress Megumi Hayashibara wins Japan’s Best Jeanist Award【Video】

© SoraNews24

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

strange... If I'm not at work, all I wear is jeans..

then again, I'm neither young nor Japanese..

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Wear what you can afford, already have or like most. I’m against all fashion recommendations or dictates.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Young people aren't supposed to do things older people understand or approve of. All of the great music and fashion trends involve this.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I guess I am officially not young anymore, since I am in my 30s.

Jeans are pretty much all I wear outside the office. We change into uniforms at the office, so that's all I wear during commuting too.

“I haven’t worn jeans in about 10 years. They’re heavy, stiff, difficult to dry, and have no functionality. Not worth wearing.”

Do...they not know to not wash jeans every time you wear them? The difficult to dry part should not be coming up that often. Yeah they will get stiff and heavy if you wash them after wearing them once, don't do that.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Just look around you. Hardly anybody under the age of 50 wears them.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Odd that I just saw a commercial where UNIQLO must have spent a lot of cash selling…..jeans.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

When I was in my early teens, everyone I knew wore a pair of Wrangler or Lee jeans. Lee was hugely popular in my area. On the first day of class during elementary and high school, they were big a part of the "cool" luck that was sported so many wore a nice crisp pair of new blue jeans. Buying a pair was a fun event that friends and I did together (same for sneakers, pre-Air Jordan days) and we couldn't wait to see the new style of Jordache, Sergio or Talelord, which was a hugely popular NYC brand that we would surely purchase. Levi's weren't popular in my neighborhood at the time but I got into them and brands like I.O.U. when I lived in California in the late 1980s. Over time, though, I have completely lost interest in wearing jeans, don't own a pair now and haven't worn any in at least a decade. They seem like trashy fashion for people who like a disheveled look in my opinion and I never got into the ones with rips and holes anyway. The old brands were much more fashionable and eye-catching.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I wear jeans to work, I wear jeans when I'm not at work. Nobody cares, and I don't either. Lol!

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I wear jeans to work, I wear jeans when I'm not at work.

iii naaa!

I envy you!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I'm not familiar with the Jeans Mate chain, but I'm guessing they were selling jeans at rip-off prices. The fact that Uniqlo sells plenty of them suggests to me that there's still a market for them, but consumers are not quite as reckless in throwing away their cash as they used to be.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I like wearing jeans bt wearing it in super humid Japanese Summer is like sauna on legs so can’t wear it only

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I wore jeans a lot until about my mid 30s but actually never really found them that comfy. I would always change into something more lounging as soon as I got home. Now I just buy much lighter material slacks, stretchy denimy things or sweat pants that look like denim but aren't.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I've always loved jeans and are pretty warm in winter. I would never wear them in a Japanese summer. Just looking at them would make me feel faint.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

“ Nothing beats Levi’s jeans. “

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites