In the last two decades, Okayama Prefecture in Western Honshu has become famous around the world as the main source of Japan’s high-quality, vintage-inspired jeans. And within Okayama, denim heads make pilgrimages to a small seaside city called Kojima

With Japanese brands often linking Kojima’s modern industry directly back to centuries-old traditions, it may sometimes seem natural for a relatively obscure region of Japan to be country’s spiritual center for American-style denim. But myths often obscure the real history: so let us look at the fortuitous circumstances and savvy business decisions that turned Okayama into the global symbol of Japanese denim.