In 1960s and 1970s when number of Japanese brands appeared like bamboo shoots and started manufacturing jeans, Big John was born with pride as a manufacturer of domestic jeans among them. Pouring its know-how accumulated in sewing work wear and uniforms originally in Kojima into denims, Big John has become a Japan-made jeans brand representing Kojima.
- Kotaro Ozaki, the founder started sewing business.
- Manufactured student’s wear, uniforms, and work wear.
Maruo Clothing, Inc.
Woven name label of Maruo Clothing
The predecessor of Big John,
Maruo Clothing sewed
not only work wear and
uniforms but also U.S.
because of the popularity
of American style clothing.
Warm cloth which gained great
Kojima, still remaining the mecca of student’s wear today.
Maruo Clothing sewed American style clothing
such as Military-Look pants as well as work wear.
- After the
- WWⅡ war Started selling the U.S.-made used clothes imported from the U.S.
cloth that was
remade for a Japanese
Used jeans among the items released
from the U.S. military and
sold in the black market
after the war.
As the hip and waist
sizes are too big
for Japanese to wear,
they were resized.
Popularity of the U.S.-made used clothes was also
a longing for the country.
A scene of cotton farming in the U.S. at the time
- After liberalization of import in 1963, had contact with Mr. Okada, Ministry of International Trade and Industry in fall of 1964. Exchanged a contract that Maruo Clothing would have the production and sales right for the areas west of Hakone with Oishi Trading and 50 rolls of denim fabric (Canton Textile Mills Inc.: the U.S.) arrived Kojima in February of the following year, 1965. In April, the Japan’s first domestic jeans were born in Kojima (under the Canton brand/made by Maruo Clothing). In October, sold world’s first one-wash jeans (wash processing with several household wash machines).
- The Canton jeans sewed by Maruo Clothing
Maruo Clothing that became a member of the
had the production and
sales right for western Japan.
Guessing from the sewing technique,
this model seems to be sewed
by Maruo Clothing.
Ogata Factory of Big John in 1960s
- In parallel with sewing the Canton jeans of Oishi Trading, produced jeans of the BIG JOHN brand using the fabric imported from Cone Mills (U.S.A.) (M1002 PROTO MODEL).
Maruo Clothing became a member of
the Canton association.
This is a photo of a gathering of the Canton association
held at Imperial Hotel in 1967.
Left 1: Mr. Tetsuo Oishi (Oishi Trading)
Left 2: Louis Jones (Canton Mills)
Right 1: Mr. Kashino (Maruo Clothing)
Both signs of Canton and
Big John are placed in front of the
Kurashiki station at that time.
M1002 PROT0 MODEL
- Completed the M1002 FIRST MODEL (also completed the M2002 boot-cut model and M3002 slim model).
First advertisement of BIG JOHN
M1002 FIRST MODEL
- The color series, “ROAD RUNNER” made a debut. Produced and released color jeans for the first time in Japan.
Sold the M4002 bell-bottom jeans and created a big boom.
Road Runner, the Slim fit collection of Big John, in the late 1960s.
The fabric of this white denim was also made in U.S.A.
M4002 bell-bottom model
- Developed the Japan’s first denim fabric “KD-8” jointly with Kurabo.
- Made a debut the Signature collection "M" series using KD-8. This was the first pure Japan-made jeans.
M1002 ALL JAPAN MADE
- The Japan’s first Work pant wear brand “WORLD WORKERS” made a debut.
This initiated an outdoor activities boom.
- The “Old series” made a debut.
- Developed the world’s first uneven yarns and completed the “RARE JEANS” woven with power looms. This led to a boom of vintage and replica jeans later.
- The“LUCKY”model with sophisticated design made a debut. This would later be improved into the “SPANA” model.
- Established the Corporate Philosophy“Quality Comes First.”
- Completed Hirao Factory in Yamaguchi Prefecture, to expand the production system.
- Implemented the “Jeans Revolution” campaign using natural dyes and recycled denims.
- Sold only 300 pieces of the “Rare Meister” jeans made by hand work of craftsmen. The jeans were sold out soon after available for pre-order.
- Released the “Sharp Fit” collection that reproduced bell-bottom and tight straight fit.
Sharp Fit collection, MH103
"Rare Meister" with box
- Made a license contract with Dickies. . Developed and sold products under the Dickies brand in Japan.
The UM874 model, which was the low-rise model of UD874, later became a big hit.
- Released “low-rise jeans” in response to street style fashion.
- The “A-Stitch” that has another stitch on the inner thigh portion made a debut.
- The jeans for coordination, “The Tailored”collection focusing on the Slim-Fit silhouette made a debut.
- Released “M3,” a modern version and sublimation of the slim-fit jeans M3002 in 1960s.
- In 2010, Big John has marked its 70th anniversary of the foundation including the period of Maruo Clothing. In commemoration of the 70 years, we are planning to release the Big John archive series that reproduce the classic jeans of BIG JOHN.