No one breaks in a pair of jeans better than a man who breaks through the ocean.

Japan’s obsession with panties of all sorts including used, virtual, and card game form alike is well known across the Internet. But now it seems a new obsession is sweeping the nation. No longer do people crave to spend their money on underpants meant from schoolgirls, instead they want to buy jeans that have been worn by fishermen for over a year.

▼ Just think – you could be the proud owner of
one of these pungent, salty pairs of pants!

The jeans come from the city of Onomichi in Hiroshima Prefecture. Fishermen are given free pairs of jeans to wear by the “Onomichi Denim Project,” and the company takes them back after a year of being “aged” through their daily work. The jeans sell for up to 48,000 yen (US$408) each.

You may think it sounds crazy, but the used jeans are popular with tourists and denim aficionados. Many are from overseas, and repeat customers are not uncommon. Apparently the daily work of the fishermen, combined with the way they stuff their jeans into their boots, breaks in the jeans in a unique way, giving the wearer an incomparable pants experience.

One fisherman who wasn’t sure what to think about the project at first, but then heard that his pants were being sold for 42,000 yen, had this to say about it:

“I decided to try it since I could wear the jeans for free and wouldn’t have to buy any for work. But who is buying my pants at that high price?”

In addition to fishermen, the Onomichi Denim Project also sells jeans from farmers, professors, chefs, eyeglass makers, and more. The story behind each pair of jeans is given alongside the item, such as “the bleach stains from when the chef washed the kitchen floor” or “the rips from when the eyeglass maker dropped pieces into his lap.”

▼ A photo of the inside of the Onomichi Denim Project,
which looks more like an art gallery than a jeans store.

Here’s what Japanese netizens think about the fishermen pants for sale:

“We’re witnessing the birth of a new industry.”
“I’m not gonna say this isn’t stupid, but I’m also not gonna say I’m not tempted to buy a pair either.”
“Wow, those jeans look great.”
“Mmm, yes, I can taste the salt coming off the jeans. I’ll take one!”

If the thought of buying used fishermen jeans has you excited too, then perhaps we could interest you in a used sumo wrestler loin cloth as well? Just whatever you do, don’t shine a black light on it….

Source: Asahi Shimbun via Hachima Kiko
Top image: Twitter/@trend_takuhaibn