All Articles
All Articles

Inazuma Festival: Japan Celebrates Americana

by CH Contributor
on 04 November 2008

by Kiya Babzani

Japan's love affair with Americana is no secret. Hot rods, hamburgers and Harleys hold a special place in Japanese culture and their market for classic denim and workwear is thriving. So it's no surprise that the global leader in dressing up like the Fonz celebrated the fourth annual Inazuma Festival this Sunday on Odaiba, an island just off the mainland near Tokyo. Organized by Lightning Magazine, Inazuma (which is actually Japanese for "lightning") is a seven-hour marketplace hawking clothes by Japan's finest denim brands, with booths dedicated to everything from hot dogs and beer to Radio Flyers and motorcycles.


This year's festival welcomed 40,000 fans—some of who had camped out over night to get priority entrance—all intent on snatching up the most limited-quantity items, which were produced in batches as small as 20. Dry Bones attracted an acutely rockabilly crowd, while the motorcycle outlaws gravitated toward Iron Heart (who also held the distinction as the only booth with an on-site Union Special sewing machine to chain stitch jeans while customers waited). Female visitors tended toward Pure Blue Japan's indigo-dyed tees, tanks and shorts, and purveyors of WWII-era military gear turned the Real McCoy booth into an Air Force meeting circa 1952, straight down to the leather helmets and goggles.

The most popular brands, however, were perennial favorites Flat Head and Samurai , who were thronged for the whole event despite booths a full three times the normal size. In addition to their own gear, Flat Head sold selections from Wild Child and CH favorites Self Edge. This marks the beginning of a partnership where Flat Head will continue to represent the two brands in the Japanese market.


While firmly focused on the fashions of yesteryear, the 2008 Inazuma Festival is a testament to Japan's ability to improve on the classics. The festival featured flight jackets so painstakingly tailored that the manufacturer made less than five percent profit on its sale and leather accessories constructed by hand from start to finish without ever touching a machine. It's this care and dedication to textiles that ensures the endurance of Japanese brands, not to mention many future Inazuma Festivals to come.

The CH25 is a showcase of creators and innovators from a broad range of disciplines who are currently working to drive the world forward.

Joshua Harker

Pushing the boundaries of sculpture with intricate 3D printing

Read More
My intent was to explore and depict the architecture of the imagination, to interpret and share forms evident in the mind’s eye

Kathleen Supové

The NYC performance artist who’s radically reinventing the piano recital

Read More
I like pieces that are virtuosic, that show off the piano and what it can do, and are awe-inspiring

Leopoldine Huyghues Despointes

The young filmmaker and non-profit founder who just wants people to follow their dreams

Read More
I feel confident and ready to accomplish so much more, the movement is on

Sabine Seymour

A future where smart clothes are as ubiquitous as zippers

Read More
In the future you will not buy a piece of 'functional' clothing without SoftSpot

Sarah Kunst

The entrepreneur single-handedly changing the landscape for women in tech

Read More
People who live on a planet that is half women but can never seem to find any when they need one, I have solved your problem

Vanessa Newman

Redesigning pregnancy for the post-gender generation with Butchbaby & Co.

Read More
I want my customers to feel comfortable and unchanged, in that becoming pregnant didn't take away from or compromise their identity

Dan Barasch + James Ramsey

A quest to make the future brighter—underground

Read More
We both share a passion for groundbreaking technology and a shared love of New York

Eelke Plasmeijer

The locally driven restaurant that’s upending Balinese food culture

Read More
We really try to keep things simple and let the produce do the talking

LaToya Ruby Frazier

Documenting the slow, troubling change in Braddock, Pennsylvania

Read More
I am not a journalist, I am a conceptual documentary artist using my visual expression for building narratives that are unseen and unheard

Douglas Riboud + Justin Guilbert

How a mission to create great coconut water led to a whole new way of doing business

Read More
We’ve made a conscious decision to be as transparent and honest as we can, and let people decide for themselves

Tal Danino

The bioengineer who’s programming DNA to fight cancer

Read More
[Manipulating genes] is very new, people are just learning how to program these organisms

Matt Kenyon

Fusing art and technology to disrupt concepts of corporate America

Read More
I want the work to live in the world and circulate, so it can generate more dialogue

Jonathan Sparks

Reinventing electronic music by inventing multi-disciplinary instruments

Read More
Recorded music is becoming so cheap, so the value of music is now in live performance

Marcus Weller

Using technology to turn motorcycle helmet design on its head

Read More
I was taken aback both by the number of people that doubted it, and by the equally large number of people that got behind it

Corinne Joachim Sanon

The chocolatier bringing social change to Haiti and bean-to-bar chocolate to the world

Read More
Seeing the poverty surrounding me and the lack of jobs and opportunity bothered me

Tarren Wolfe

The next-generation appliance making kitchens greener—literally

Read More
Our goal is to provide food for everyone in the world, and the best place to start is in our very own community

Melissa Kushner

Addressing the needs of orphans and vulnerable children in Malawi through microenterprise

Read More
Poverty is complicated, there is an increasing temptation and pressure in the development space to oversimplify things

Roxie Darling

From un-shampoo to transgender identity, the NYC colorist boldly defining the next chapter of hair

Read More
Hair color is as much a science as it is a craft

Meredith Perry

How searching the Internet helped a 22-year-old invent wireless electricity

Read More
It’s not about where the information is, it’s about how you use the tools

Kegan Schouwenburg

Revolutionizing orthotics through 3D-printed insoles

Read More
What orthotics do is they effectively change the geometry of what your alignment is like

Lulu Mickelson

A civic leader bringing change to NYC through design

Read More
Human-centered design is one of the many tools that we can use to better engage the public

Pauline van Dongen

The Dutch designer blazing the wearable technology path

Read More
I’m fascinated by concepts of change, movement, energy and perception; since they are closely related to the way we experience the world

Cynthia Breazeal

How an emotional, empathetic robot named Jibo stands to revolutionize communication

Read More
The thing that's so provocative about social robots is that it's fundamentally a community technology

George Arriola and Monohm

An heirloom electronic for the post-smartphone era

Read More
We agonized during the design process as all hyper-obsessed craftspeople should

Alex Kalman

The tiny museum in Manhattan that’s redefining museums

Read More
The mission is to put this small simple and powerful tool into the hands of as many people as possible