about 340 years ago, raw cotton was grown, and then hand-spun and hand-woven into clothes. during the edo period (1603-1867) local rulers were required to reside in the capital city of edo (tokyo) every other year. these clothes proved extremely popular as gifts for those coming and going from the capital.
starting in the meiji period (after 1868), production of ogura cloth began, which was used to make school uniforms. up until the second world war, "bitchu ogura" products were sent all over the world.
ibara city, as a producer of both these kinds of heavy textiles as well as denim, took note when the youth of tokyo and osaka started to wear american-made jeans around 1955, and became one of the first areas in japan to begin manufacturing jeans.
the popularity of jeans among young people kicked into high gear after 1970, and at one point about 15 million pairs of jeans 70% of the national total were being manufactured annually in ibara city. and that is how ibara became one of japan's proudest producers of jeans.