The third Saturday in February (this year it was the 18th) is the annual observation of the Saidaiji Hadaka Matsuri (Naked Festival), which is probably the largest public occurence the fundoshi gets! Thousands of men dressed only in fundoshi and tabi socks participate, competing for good luck talismans in a festival known for its cold temperatures, abundant saki consumption, and physical danger.
While current photos of the actual event seem in short supply, here are some images from various Naked Festivals as well as other Shinto-related ceremonies held throughout Japan over the past few years, to give readers a taste of the fundoshi's role in Shinto:
21 March 2017
14 March 2017
07 March 2017
28 February 2017
21 February 2017
14 February 2017
February 14th is officially Fundoshi Day! Fundoshi Day began in 2012. It was created by the Japan Fundoshi Association, whose mission is "to propagate the use of fundoshi and save it from extinction." They have set a goal of “120 million fundoshists (people using fundoshi) by 2022.”
That's a goal I definitely support! This post contains artwork by a variety of artists celebrating Fundoshi Day.
February 14 was selected because of a pun on a reading of the date 2/14 in Japanese. February 14 is also Valentines Day, and a day in Japan for giving chocolate to loved ones. I see no problem with integrating the two holidays and spending time with loved ones (or lovers) while wearing fundoshi!
Of course I don't ;) It looks like a lot of these artists made the connection as well. So call up a special friend and put fundoshi on each other.
Happy Fundoshi Day! -- Ry