Kamakura Classics


For the last thirty years, Kamakura Shirts has been focused on making the highest quality and longest lasting dress shirts. Their Kamakura Classics line pays tribute to the iconic shirt styles from the past that helped shape the company’s core sense of style. Founders Yoshio and Tamiko Sadasue got their start in the 1960s working under Kensuke Ishizu, the man responsible for bringing Ivy League style clothing to Japan, and American East Coast style helped guide the establishment of Kamakura Shirts in 1993. The Ivy spirit of youthful insouciance found a welcome home in Kamakura, a beachside town that has enjoyed its own distinctive culture since the samurai era. The Shōnan coast was the birthplace for Japan’s own version of Ivy in the 1950s: the wealthy, unruly teenagers known as the Sun Tribe. In summoning the spirit of these legendary rebels and creative troublemakers, shirts in the Kamakura Classics line — whether button-downs in oxford and madras, pique polos, jersey pop-overs, or band-collar shirts with flap pockets — aren’t for the office but serve as essential wardrobe basics for the active lifestyles of the forever young at heart. And thanks to the relentless attention to detail, these faithful reproductions look as good today as they did back then. They’re “classics” for a reason.

Written by W. David Marx

W. David Marx is the Tokyo-based author of two books: a cultural history of Japanese menswear, Ametora: How Japan Saved American Style, and a general theory of cultural change, Status and Culture.


Ametora is Japanese slang for “American traditional” - the East Coast collegiate style that forged the Japanese menswear industry in the 1960s. Our Ametora oxford cloth button-down in white or saxe blue offers an authentic recreation of the dress shirts commonly seen on Madison Avenue in the 1950s. The shirt body uses the looser fit of that era, and the long collar, at 3.5-inches, is perfect for wearing with a necktie and navy blazer or for staying visible under a sweater. Other Ivy-style details include a box pleat at back and gathered sleeves on barrel cuffs. The oxford cloth is woven in Japan from American Sea Island Cotton, and the six-front buttons are made from white mother-of-pearl.







In the mid-1950s, disobedient Japanese teenagers from elite families in the Shōnan region became notorious for their freewheeling beach-bum lifestyles. With the 1956 debut of the controversial film, Season of the Sun, they became known as the “Sun Tribe” — and their signature fashion look of aloha shirts became the defining fashion trend of that era. As tribute to the Sun Tribe’s influence on Kamakura culture, we offer the Shōnan Shirt — a short-sleeved open-collar shirt in Japanese-woven, extra-heavy linen. The shirt body comes in a relaxed fit equal width at chest and waist, with a five-button front, plain back, and a three-inch vent at bottom. The spread-collar closes with a loop. The Shōnan Shirt is perfect for throwing on after a dip in the ocean or surviving a blazing hot summer day in the city.







Designed in collaboration with illustrator Graham Marsh, the Vintage Ivy button-down shirt resembles what would be found on American college campuses in the 1960s. This one comes in a dark green Indian madras cloth that properly “bleeds” just like they did back then. The shorter three-inch collar offers two quintessential Ivy details: a back-button and locker loop. The shirt cuffs are pleated, and the six-button front uses real cream-colored takase shell buttons. An indispensable piece for any wardrobe, the Vintage Ivy model can be worn tucked-in on a night out and untucked for weekends at the park.


The popover shares the same fit as the button-down dress shirt but is better suited for more casual occasions. Our model is made with a long four-button front placket. This version comes in a special indigo pique fabric dyed by the legendary Kaihara Denim in Hiroshima and knitted at the Kanemasa factory in Wakayama.



This white button-down popover is made with heavy,
soft cotton jersey for maximum comfort, knitted at the Kanemasa factory in Wakayama, Japan.
The shirt works well under a suit jacket or for drinking coffee at home on a Sunday morning.



Our short-sleeved polo shirt is a reverent reproduction of the classic American summer shirt, with a drop-tail where the back is longer than the front. The chest emblem is an illustration from Graham Marsh of a cat on an Italian scooter. We used herringbone tape on the sides, a detail once common to polo shirts but fell out of usage in the 1980s once the major brands looked to bring down production costs. The collar opens with four button-holes and resin buttons. The shirt comes in our special Kaihara Denim-dyed indigo blue pique fabric woven at the Kanemasa knit factory. It’s machine-wash — but be careful with the indigo the first few washes.




Famously worn by Miles Davis on the album cover of Miles Davis at Newport 1958, our band-collar shirt in ecru oxford works as a standalone piece but also looks great under a summer jacket. French placket front, and flaps on both front pockets.