Do you want Fundoshi? by

Rokushaku Fundoshi

fundoshi_happi.gifFundoshi may be the standard Japanese loincloth donned by sumo-tori and by males on unique events, such in Japanese festivals (matsuri). It used to be the key type of Japanese undergarment until World War II. These days, it's been entirely changed by modern Western undies.

Fundoshi and happi

Types of fundoshi
There are many varieties of fundoshi:

  • Rokushaku fundoshi (六尺褌)
  • Mokko fundoshi (もっこ褌, lit. “earth-basket loincloth”)
  • Etchū fundoshi (越中褌)

Basically, fundoshi (also shitaobi 下帯, “waist cloth”) contain a lengthy strip of cloth fastened around the waistline, passed amongst the legs, and tucked in or tied up at the back. Early fundoshi were manufactured from linen, but through the sixteenth century cotton fiber became more common. The wealthier favoured loincloths made of silk, although basic silk is not suitable. Fundoshi were worn by labourers, by samurai under their armour, by foot soldiers and until recently by kiddies as standard swimsuits.

fundoshi-patterns.jpg Forms of fundoshi

The rokushaku fundoshi was the most frequent type, measuring six shaku (尺, a device of length, with 1 shaku equal to one-foot, or around 34 cm) long plus one shaku in width. It really is made of just one little bit of cloth and is often twisted to generate a thong effect behind. The mokko fundoshi has actually with both stops for the cloth sewn throughout the waist band, which can be then tied at one side. It was used by workers in the Edo era. Etchū fundoshi originated from the old Etchū Province (modern-day Toyama Prefecture) and measure only three shaku in length, but have one end of main fabric section folded over and sewn to support a string waistline band. It used to be typically the most popular fundoshi during the early 20th century.

There are numerous other subtypes and neighborhood variants of fundoshi. One of the more famous may be the mawashi (廻し), the belt that rikishi (力士, lit. “strong man”, sumo wrestler) put on during instruction or perhaps in competitors.

Fundoshi in Japanese proverbs
The former importance of fundoshi in day to day life is the best expressed by the multitude of associated proverbs. Discover a few of them below.

  • 「褌を締めてかかる」 Fundoshi wo shimete kakaru: “Rolling your sleeve” or “Brace yourself (for something)”.
  • 「人の褌で相撲を取る」 Hito no fundoshi de sumo wo toru: “simply take risks with other people’s money”.
  • 「帯に短し襷に長し褌には丁度良い」 Obi ni mijikashi tasukini nagashi fundoshi ni ha chodo yoi: “Too much for starters and not sufficient for 2, but just enough for fundoshi”
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