18 October 2016

The Mawashi: Sumo

A widely-seen variation on the fundoshi is the thicker, layered wrestling belt wrapped around the hips of Sumo wrestlers, which alternately goes by the names mawashi or shimekomi. The mawashi also sees much use during festivals, in a slimmer version than the 6-layered one worn by rikishi (professional sumo wrestlers). I'm planning some future posts of various Japanese traditional events and activities that display this other version.

I found the linked blog post here very helpful in understanding the mawashi, with directions for tying it as well as an explanation of the various parts.

11 October 2016

Women In Fundoshi

The fundoshi's sensual and fetish potential is definitely not reserved to males, although the vast majority of photographs I encounter depict men in fundoshi.

Women wear fundoshi in both traditional and contemporary settings: we've previously highlighted the female free-divers (ama) who wear fundoshi while gathering pearls and other marine treasures. There is also an active popular movement currently in Japan to reintroduce fundoshi to women's daily wear as undergarments, rebranded as "prendre shorts." Finally, in the realm of fetish (which is what this post focuses on), fundoshi introduces a potent visual element into sexual scenarios and mild bondage/BDSM scenes that elevates them above and beyond the ordinary.

It's been suggested that the fundoshi represents the Japanese ideal of masculine athleticism in art/pornography not unlike the Western jockstrap's adoption as a major gay trope. Transferring that interpretation to the hips of females imparts new power to these images, combining traditional/stereotypical ideals of femininity with a freshly amplified eroticism.

I would love to see that idea further explored by women who enjoy fundoshi!

04 October 2016

The Great Taiko Drummers

Fundoshi is frequently the garb of the muscular drummers of such renowned taiko drumming groups as Kodo and Za Ondekoza. There is a wealth of video material on YouTube and DVD, some superb books of photography, and if you find yourself carried away on the powerful rhythms of the music there are many excellent professional recordings as well.

27 September 2016

The Beauty of Irezumi

If there's an art form that photography can't quite do justice to, it's the intricate and frequently dazzlingly vibrant art of the Japanese tattoo: irezumi.

But if there's a garment that shows these colorful tattoo body suits off to their full advantage, it's the fundoshi. Many more images after the break!