Translated byHilary Keyes
Writer, translator, designer, weirdo.
Fundoshi are the traditional type of underwear worn in Japan, although in modern times they have been all but replaced by Western style bottoms. In this article, we take a look at Sharefun, a brand seeking to bring back the fundoshi!
Fundoshi are the traditional underwear of the Japanese, but in recent years, they have mainly only been seen as the bottoms worn by men during Japanese summer festivals.
In this article, we introduce the Japan Fundoshi Association, who works diligently to promote and spread the charms of the fundoshi, as well as the brand SHAREFUN®, who makes fundoshi that even first-time wearers can enjoy.
Fundoshi are a type of underwear that relies on a strip of cloth wrapped around the body; these were the standard for undergarments in Japan in the past. There are various techniques to winding and tying fundoshi, and there were many different types of material used as well.
Although they are somewhat harder to put on than Western-style underwear, the health benefits and comfort provided by fundoshi have been re-evaluated in recent years.
Although the standard in the past, it's not uncommon for fundoshi to bring about images of being "difficult", "stiff", "uncomfortable" or "old man" in the present. Until the Second World War, they were the natural choice and rooted in the daily lives of the Japanese, but they quickly disappeared post-war, and slowly faded away.
The Japan Fundoshi Association seeks to bring back our predecessors love for this type of undergarment, to share the appeals of the fundoshi with modern generations, and to reintroduce the fundoshi as a daily garment as well.
They are working hard to share the culture and effectiveness of the fundoshi via various media outlets. Furthermore, by rediscovering and sharing the value of the fundoshi, they have also succeeded in making the younger generations aware of the fundoshi itself, as they might not have been aware of it otherwise, and have shared this knowledge with people overseas too.
SHAREFUN is a compound word combining the Japanese for 'fashionable' (oshare), with the first part of 'fundoshi', and has the extra meaning in English of "share fun(doshi)".
As one of the activities undertaken by the Japan Fundoshi Association, there has been a steady increase in the number of people who appreciate fundoshi. But, what are the charms of SHAREFUN that seem to be drawing the Japanese back to this traditional undergarment?
SHAREFUN® are not made with any elastics, which means that they will not squeeze or constrict your waist or groin area. As such, they do not constrict blood flow or compress the lymph nodes, so they can safely be worn to bed and will not cause any numbness or swelling in the extremities.
They are also breathable, which means that wearers are less likely to experience any rashes or itching from the fabric, and have the added effect of preventing any skin darkening that may be caused by constrictive fabrics rubbing against the skin for a long period of time. Because of this, the number of people who wear fundoshi not only as room wear but while sleeping has been increasing as well.
SHAREFUN® are ideal for those who struggle with constriction issues, rashes, and want to relax and rest in comfort.
Only domestically produced fabrics are used in all SHAREFUN® products, and the fundoshi are fully produced by hand at their factory in Fukushima prefecture. One reason for this is their dedication to top quality, but the other is to support the revitalization of the regions affected by the 2011 Great Eastern Japan Earthquake.
From the various materials available, the linen SHAREFUN® come highly recommended. Made from flax from Wakayama prefecture, the original color of this fabric is kept rather than being dyed, and with this fabric in particular, the more it is washed, the softer and better fitted to the skin it becomes. In addition, linen also dries quickly, has good natural absorbency, a natural antibacterial and deodorant effect, which makes it ideally suited for undergarment material.
Compared to their traditional counterparts, the fundoshi of today also have more fashionable designs as well.
In recent years, women's fundoshi has also become popular, and women who have taken to wearing SHAREFUN® have stated that they have had fewer problems with chills or coldness in their legs, and that they have also found them effective against "menstrual irregularities".
What do you think of SHAREFUN®'s modern interpretation of the traditional fundoshi? These functional and fashionable undergarments are available for both men and women, so you might consider picking up some when on your trip to Japan.
In addition to their online shop, these undergarments may also be purchased at variety goods stores across Japan. See their website for more details.