Smithsonian's recent article on how Japan is better at being American than we are seems like a fairly late observation considering Japanese labels and designers have been dominating #menswear for so long. But then again, of course we know about Japan and Americana being menswear nerds obsessed with the Japanese perspective. I guess a lot of normal people would still be surprised by the dominance and different market share a brand like Red Wing can have in Japan as compared to the US. Japan's emphasis on the manufacturing process and attention to tiny details has had an indelible influence on the American menswear scene. Americana-inspired workwear by Japanese labels like Post O'alls, Workers, Engineered Garments, etc., helped pave the way for a lot of guys to discover smaller, less well known Japanese streetwear brands, whose influence still echoes throughout. Just like Mobb Deep already explained the meaning of shook, visvim already explained the meaning of Japanese Americana.
At this point, a trip to Tokyo is the equivalent of a pilgrimage for #menswear and a pre-requisite for certified #influencer status. By becoming our go-to inspiration for American style iconography, the Japanese have informed the way we see our own past. They've helped us romanticize it and, in some ways, taught us how to improve upon it, which is why Japanese designers and shopkeepers will continue to have an incredibly strong influence on the American menswear scene.
Also, I'd be remiss no to mention that I've been to Japan and the hamburgers are really, really, really fucking good.