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Home » Archives » June 2005 » Japanese Loincloth Makes Comeback

Japanese Loincloth Makes Comeback

Saturday, June 4, 2005 Posted: 01:10 PM JST

The traditional Japanese loincloth, or fundoshi is making a comeback, writes the Japan Times today. Fundoshi disappeared from Japan's buttocks shortly after the end of WWII. They were only worn by participants of religious festivals and a shrinking population of elderly men. That is now changing, says the Japan Times.

The traditional Japanese loincloth, or fundoshi is making a comeback, writes the Japan Times today. Fundoshi disappeared from Japan's buttocks shortly after the end of WWII. They were only worn by participants of religious festivals and a shrinking population of elderly men. That is now changing, says the Japan Times.

Mitsukoshi Ltd.'s Ginza store carries fundoshi sporting "tartan, paisley and geometric patterns in red, blue and other colors" that are attractive to young shoppers.

Fundoshi traditionally were made of boring, often white cloth. The new wide variety of prints and colors has brought the fundoshi back to life.

Last month Mitsukoshi's Ginza branch sold as many as 800 fundoshi. In April it was still 441. The department store used to sell only about 80 a month. "Women seem to be buying them for their boyfriends and friends," Yoshimi Shuma, manager of the men's clothing section is quoted as saying in the Japan Times article. Businessmen appear to be buying fundoshi as "power underwear". They wear them to achieve good results at work.

In its simplest form the fundoshi consists of a long rectangular cloth with straps at one end. The wearer ties the straps from back to front so that the cloth is hanging over the buttocks. Then the other end is pulled up between the legs and threaded under the strap, with the rest of the cloth hanging down like an apron. Prices range from 500 yen to around 3,000 yen.

The fundoshi revival can be seen at other stores as well. Ryogoku Takahashi Co., a store in Tokyo's Sumida Ward selling sumo goods, sees an increasing number of young people buying fundoshi.

The revival started after Ryogoku Takahashi began selling fundoshi with traditional designs, like lions or dragons.

According to Masatoki Minami, author of the book "Fundoshi Monogatari" ("Tales of Fundoshi"), the decline of fundoshi started when foreign dignitaries who came to Japan in the Meiji Era (1868-1912) complained about them.

Many Japanese carpenters and laborers wore only fundoshi, but the foreigners considered it "inappropriate" to show one's buttocks in public.

It has taken a while, but it looks like the Japanese finally feel confident enough about their own culture to don their traditional loincloth, although nowadays only as underwear...

Keywords: trends_lifestyle

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2 comments so far post your own

1 | At 06:42pm on May 15 2006, craig wrote:
pleased to see the fundoshi making a comeback for japanese men. Pity we westerners are loosing our tradtions & heritage too because of america.
2 | At 04:31pm on May 02 2008, nkviyer wrote:
Hi Everybody,It gives me a great pleasure by posting a comment related to loincloth be it of any style.I am a regular wearer of loin cloth(indian style)since my childhood days.I also feel proud that my fellow asians have once again bounced back to wear the ancient traditional costume(Fundoshi)in their daily life as an inner attire.OLD IS ALWAYS GOLD.
Regards,
Vaithy.
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