I encountered a lot of porn along the way, and fierce statements of nationalistic pride. Some felt that fundoshi should never be worn by non-Japanese -- that it was an insult on par with someone appearing in blackface. Others felt that fundoshi, and loincloths in general, were leftovers from a purer and more honorable time, when the masculine force was contained but untamed. As an American, with all of our conflicted ideas on sexuality and our studious lack of culture, I didn't know what to make of my fascination with fundoshi. It was comfortable, it was an elegant and simple design, it was highly functional. And it was sensual.
I would secretly wear fundoshi under my clothes. I would shyly reveal fundoshi to lovers. I would snap pictures of myself in the mirror wrapped in fundoshi. Without my intending, it became inextricable from my sexuality. But fundoshi also became a symbol of practicality and utility -- like fabric origami, as one blog reader observed. To me, it seemed the perfect undergarment: easy to make, comfortable and supportive to wear, sustainable and non-commercial, beautiful to the eye.
I wanted to share my experiences with those whose only encounters with fundoshi would be from international artists like Kodo, or in the pages of a manga, or in a tattoo magazine... if they ever encountered fundoshi at all.
And that was how Fundoshi 4 All! began.
If you have pictures, stories, videos, thoughts, or ideas about fundoshi, please feel free to e-mail them to: ihsodnufraew [at] yahoo [dot] com
- Simplicity: Simple to make, simple to wear once you get the hang of it, simple to adjust for tailored comfort.
- Function: Supportive and secure, ideal for running, swimming, and most other activities. Can fill the same role as an athletic supporter or jock strap. A thousand years of pearl divers, rice farmers, fishermen, warriors, and laborers can't be wrong!
- Sustainability: Easy on your wallet, easier on the eyes, easiest on the environment -- no elastic or rubber, no sweatshop labor, 100% reusable/recyclable.
- Connection: Think about it -- underwear is the first thing you put on your body every day. Transforming that morning ritual into tying on a fundoshi connects you to rich cultural traditions, history, and no doubt millions of forgotten amorous rendezvous. In the present day, it connects you to proud traditionalists and adventurous fetishists; a secret network wrapped in an ancient design.
- Sensuality: It's hard to beat fundoshi for displaying the body. It is richly symbolic in the Shinto tradition of purity and freedom from shame; yet it fulfills another role entirely by covering and protecting your sex even as it's dramatically brief shape draws attention to you. It's a fun puzzle for a partner to unwrap, and what's left is a long warm ribbon of cloth.
- Individuality: So many people sheathed in Hanes and Fruit-Of-The-Loom... The most exciting they get is some other, pricier brand name on the waistband or maybe some bright color. Fundoshi is a little confusing for some, because of its passing resemblance to thongs or jocks (I've even heard diapers). But before it's tied on, it's a different thing entirely, and one suited to endless variation. Once one understands this is the garb of samurai, of fierce and fit taiko drummers, of peasants and emperors -- well, no other undergarment can stake that claim. Any fabric, any color, any dye, hundreds of regional variations for tying it: fundoshi nestles against your root chakra, a basket for the core of your being! What better item to express your inner self with?