why japanese denim is the best in the world

New documentary 'Weaving Shibusa' tells the story of the craftsmanship behind Japan’s love of denim.

by Matthew Whitehouse
Jul 26 2016, 3:10pm

It might not have the storied history of its American counterparts, but if you know your denim, you'll know that Japan has a reputation for making the very best in the world. First arriving in the country via the Levis-clad G.I.s that occupied the nation following World War II, blue jeans came to represent a permissible form of rebellion in a society attempting to rebuild itself following the trauma of the war — a passport out of the conformity of the early 1950s and a teenage ticket to the idealized optimism of James Dean, Marlon Brando, and youthful American soldiers.

Denim became a big deal, sure, but the real story lies in just how quickly the Japanese established their own highly original and localized industry. Huge demand, economic good luck, and a centuries-old textile industry that prided itself on extraordinary attention to detail combined to create the much-praised "selvedge edge."

It's this level of craftsmanship that's documented in Devin Leisher's Weaving Shibusa, which premieres on August 6 at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco and is previewed in the trailer below. Touring some of the most acclaimed denim factories in the country, the film uses its unprecedented access to meet the artisans behind the weave, offering a closer look at this most premium of industries. Check out the trailer, below, and find out more about the film here


Text Matthew Whitehouse

weaving shibusa