My kid has had this shirt for the past year or two:
Like a lot of clothing in Japan, although not as much as in the past, it has some inscribed English about which the wearer may be utterly clueless. Or it may be the name of the foreigner who, say, helped introduce flavored yogurt or the flush toilet to Japan during the Meiji period and every single Japanese schoolkid knows his name and there is a statue to him on a hillside somewhere in Kyushu.
Well, both my son and wife professed utter ignorance of any "Jack Robbins", and they both seemed a little puzzled why I would be wondering about this. Google yielded no "Jack Robbins" who would likely to be on a kids shirt in Japan. LinkedIn came up with 63 Jack Robbins, each one of whom seems to be some middle aged guy effecting change and innovation in a suburban office park.
Confronted with this dry well, I dug a little deeper. Here is a closeup shot of the shirt:
If you google "Jack Robbins Clothes of Distinction" and look at the image results:
Bingo! And definitely a flashy nighttime sign:
It turns out that Jack Robbins was a menswear store in the Belmont area of Chicago, apparently for at least 2 generations of Robbinses. It was a local landmark at best, not even particularly renowned in Chicago, basically a local family store fondly remembered by the neighborhood.
Jack Robbins stayed in business until about 2006 when "Irv" acquired the place and who (incompletely) covered up poor Jack.
You can still see a bit of Jack's crown peeping out at the top.
Irv's was not long for this world, as the place burned in 2009 and was demolished:
No word on whether there was an arson investigation....
A sad end for the venerable Jack Robbins sign:
But a bit of Jack remains, as the store owners had the foresight to have "Jack Robbins" also engraved in the sidewalk entryway:
And so Jack Robbins lives on in Belmont, where the store site is now used as a dog park:
So this does answer the "Who is Jack Robbins" question.
Yet, how and why he came to also be emblazoned on a child's shirt in Osaka remains a mystery.