Spotted this surprising shirt in a Japanese t-shirt shop in Tokyo and had to share it.

Morrissey Japanese T-Shirt

The shirt features the lyrics to The Smiths’ song “Ask” – one of the best love songs of the 1980s. “If it’s not love, then it’s the bomb that will bring us together.”

The question that presented itself when we first caught sight of this shirt in the shop window was – how did this happen? How did dark song lyrics from the 1980s end up in brightly colored print on a t-shirt in Japan in 2009? The other similar shirts in the store all had silly messages like “I like girls who like girls”.

By the slight spelling/grammar errors, it’s pretty likely that this shirt was designed in Japan, not imported. So, what Japanese t-shirt designer thought this would be cool? And, if they knew enough about The Smiths to create a shirt using their lyrics, why the bright colors? Smiths singer Morrissey is the guy cheerful enough to come up with the lyrics “I wear black on the outside, because black is how I feel on the inside.” Not exactly a bright and colorful thought.

Maybe this was some kind of subversive move by the Japanese designer – sneaking the lyrics to one of his or her favorite songs onto a t-shirt, figuring that none of his Japanese coworkers would ever notice? Maybe not? This is a fashion mystery that will probably never be solved.

The mystery Morrissey lyrics shirt was priced at about US$20.


  1. emmavonstratten.

    It s the bomb that will bing us together!

  2. maybe the Japanese doesn’t use much ‘R’