14 January 2014

This... could... be... working?

Years ago, when I first decided that the internet was my best bet of finding others interested in fundoshi, I had a parallel thought: why not use the internet to get more people interested in fundoshi? My chances of finding more fundoshi enthusiasts could only go up if... there are more fundoshi enthusiasts!  People need to know about fundoshi to get, er, wrapped up in it, right?  Of course many Japanese already know about fundoshi, but outside of Japan I would say relatively few do.  We tug on our boxer shorts and briefs, which occasionally come in some new color, cut, or pattern and that's about as revolutionary as undergarments get for us.  I had an absolute epiphany when I first tried tying my own fundoshi: this was for me.  This strip of fabric cleverly cinched around me was everything I was looking for through my vague loincloth obsession.  I wanted more people to try fundoshi out for themselves!  Once again, my chances of finding more fundoshi fans could only get better if more people found out about it!  Tear down the language barrier with the universal speech of the sensuous!
At least that was the theory.

I started off with a Myspace page (R.I.P.).  The very first Fundoshi 4 All profile garnered hundreds of Myspace friends, especially young people who seemed open to the idea.  Not as a fetish, but more as a curiosity, or something manga-related, or a way to be DIY and unique.  There was actually a lot of interaction for a while, but like Myspace in general over time the momentum waned.  Myspace never caught on with middle aged and elderly people like Facebook has, so the vast majority of that page's friends were young, technologically proficient, and had boundless curiosity.  Are there any of our old Myspace friends still with us?

Nowadays, you can find a brand new profile on Facebook by searching for "Ryan Rokushaku."

About time, you say?  Well, there was a short-lived Facebook profile a few years ago, but it was frequently censored, so I closed up shop on Myspace and Facebook, swore off society's busybodies and do-gooders, and moved to this blog.  It's been great being here.  For the first little while, I kept the blog public and focused on the uniqueness of the fundoshi.  But, like anything worn close to the skin, sooner or later the sexual aspects of the fundoshi came to the fore.  That shift and the generally homoerotic nature of much of the fundoshi-related content on the net made me decide to switch the blog to 18+.  The latent eroticism broke through the surface of caution I was maintaining.

This past year, I added a Tumblr and a month or so ago I swallowed my resolve and re-opened a Facebook profile!

There was a while that I thought I had seen pretty much all there was to see online, regarding fundoshis.  The same images, articles, and sites were all I'd find on repeated searches.  Granted, they were some good ones: the primary sources for whatever I know or have been able to find out.  I knew that there was a wealth of pre-internet material out there... books, magazines, personal archives.  And I knew there was a whole world of possibility ahead once peoples' imaginations lit fire.  For the last year or more though, I find new pictures every day.  Sometimes whole new sites!

There was a time more recently when finding fundoshi stuff online was difficult or impossible.  That's not the case anymore, even with Google's wonky new image search, which takes it on itself to make a lot of the moral decisions for you by making adult oriented searches maddeningly specific.  Sure, in the past you could Google "folding step ladder" and end up with images of full-on sodomy, but now the inverse is true: it's so bloomin' hard to find full-on sodomy (especially fundoshi-clad sodomy!) that I've turned to Tumblr and porn sites increasingly to find more fundoshi pictures, films, and art.  That, of course, has had an effect on the content you find here.  These days, it's naughtier.  If it was homoerotic before, it's often just plain erotic now.  

As we've all read on Wikipedia, the fundoshi "fell out of use after WWII due to the introduction and popularity of Western-style briefs."  As with most bland generalizations, that one's not entirely accurate: the fundoshi did not fall out of use entirely but it did get marginalized and to some extent forgotten, and I hope that all of us have been instrumental in remembering and rekindling interest in this ingenious (and yes, sexy) strip of fabric.

The upshot is... there are tons of people already on Facebook wearing fundoshis!  Unsurprisingly, many of them are Japanese or Taiwanese.  Actually, there are tons more people wearing fundoshis in general.  So, maybe... this... is... working?

Back in the day, I would find the same several dozen pictures of fundoshis and not much more.  That several dozen has expanded to at least 3,000 images I've collected.  Some of that gain is because I've gotten really good at ferreting out fundoshi stuff.  Some of it is because more people are snapping photos of their sweet little derriers in a fundoshi.  Some of that gain is because more people are scanning old books and magazines and photography that features the fundoshi.  Some of it is because of the gradual opening of the American mind with regards to sexuality.  

But a good portion of it is because more people are trying the fundoshi out!  Whether they are Japanese by heritage and are reconnecting with parts of their culture, or whether they are bold experimenters from other cultures, people like David and Louis of The Fundoshi Project video series fame, or like Alan at the Fundoshi Fabric And Photos website, or like John who has hosted a couple parties and shown at least a dozen initiates how to wear a fundoshi; well, all these efforts are pooling into a more fundoshi-aware globe.  Even better than being fundoshi-aware, more and more of you are becoming fundoshi-participative.  You're trying one on.  You're liking the look and feel.  And then, for some, you're sharing the fundoshi with the outside world.

For some, that means taking some fundoshi-clad selfies.  For others, that means wearing a fundoshi when you're with your lover or your workout-buddies-with-privileges.  For yet others, it means writing about the fundoshi, making artwork, or starting your own blogs and websites.

I say the more the merrier!


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