Fundoshi – Loincloth Armor

Japanese adult males traditionally wore Fundoshi or undergarments. This is part of their Samurai Suit even if this barely covers the lower part of the body. Traditionally made Fundoshi is made of a certain length of cotton.

Even if this is part of the Samurai Armor it quickly went out of fashion when new underwear was introduced to the Japanese market like briefs and trunks.

Today this piece of cloth is worn during festivals or when it is time to swim. Japanese history shows that this tie as referred to was depicted in clay figures or haniwa. This was a choice of underwear even at what social status any Japanese men may be in.

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Kinds of Fundoshi

  • Etchu. This is a simple kind of undergarment. It consists of a piece of cloth with a tie that goes around in the waist. Nowadays, it is also used by ladies because of the amazing comfort that it brings. This will not bunch up like boxer shorts. It is often described as light as that of a feather and simply feels like not wearing anything at all.
  • Kuroneko. This uses solid colors and is one of the most popular forms of this underwear for Japanese men. It is made of lightweight and soft material.
  • Mokko. This is considered a hybrid because it merges two kinds of undergarments. It has the appearance of a Rokushaku and is said to closely resemble the briefs worn by Western men. This can be made out of silk or satin.
  • Rokushaku. It usually comes in color red. This brief style Sagara for Japanese men. This is the oldest kind of underwear and was preferred by farmers and pearl divers.
Hayakawa Kyuukei [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Different Styles

  • Relax style where it consists of a strip of cloth worn around the hips and secured using knotting and twisted forms of the cloth with an apron in front that covers the portion that needs to remain hidden. This looks modest as compared to other forms of tie
  • For active guys. The cloth is wound around the hips with an apron as well. This is referred to as a form of thing effect at the back. This is often used for bathing. Because of its style, a boy who wears this can easily be rescued when he is about to drown by lifting him out of the water by pulling him through the back of the cloth
  • This originates in Toyama Prefecture. This is tied between the legs through the belt. Some of these were considered as Samurai armor and were issued to Japanese troops during World War II. This tie is the sole garb of Allied Prisoners of War in the tropic area

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The best material for Fundoshi is either a white linen or white cotton. Silk can be used depending on the taste of whoever will wear it. However, the use of plain silk is not suitable.

It is often lined with similar material to cover the private parts. There are many variations of Fundoshi which was mentioned earlier. Every February about 10,000 men gather wearing only this in hopes of gaining luck throughout the entire year.