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Walk into any lingerie store in Japan, and you’ll find an array of cute and sexy panties, G-strings, and thongs. Recently, though, there’s a more traditional undergarment option that’s winning over the hearts and hips of an increasing number of Japanese women: the loincloth, which has gotten a modern makeover that gives up nothing in the femininity department.

While you won’t find loincloths, called fundoshi in Japanese, lining the shelves of mainstream lingerie chains like Amos Style and Aimerfeel, the growing ranks of funjo (women who wear loincloths, from fundoshi and josei/woman) are well-served by online retailers such as Rakuten, which sells women’s loincloths at prices comparable to ordinary lingerie. And while for many the first image that comes to mind for fundoshi is the butt cheek-exposing style called rokushaku fundoshi that’s called sometimes worn by the men who carry portable shrines at festivals, women’s loincloths are a bit more modest, not to mention cute.

For newly converted funjo, those in the know recommend a mokko fundoshi, which is fairly similar to a bikini bottom which ties closed on just one hip. As a matter of fact, when made from material with a playful pattern, a mokko fundoshi, at first glance, almost seems like a normal pair of panties with a playfully asymmetric design.

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And while putting one on isn’t quite as simple as slipping on regular underwear, it’s not a particularly complicated process either.

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For those willing to step further into the fundoshi frontier, there’s the etchu fundoshi, which also ties closed on the hip but looks quite a bit more traditional from the front.

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▼ Backside view

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Like mokko fundoshi, etchu fundoshi are also available in a wide variety of colors and patterns, although designers seem to be especially fond of classic motifs.

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There’s more behind the ladies’ loincloth movement than women’s surging interest in feudal Japanese history, too. Funjo cite a number of reasons for going old-school.

By far the most commonly touted upside is that fundoshi are less constricting than other types of underwear. Not only does this make them more comfortable, it’s a blessing during Japan’s hot and humid summers, as fundoshi allow for greater airflow in the area they cover, and since they’re generally made of gauzy linen, they quickly absorb any perspiration. The looser fit of fundoshi is also said to aid circulation, and in the case of etchu funoshi, some say that the way they’re worn, with a double layer of cloth over the stomach, helps keeps the wearer warm while still providing adequate ventilation to not get hot and sweaty.

Veteran funjo realize that going back hundreds of years in intimate apparel fashion can be an intimidating step for newcomers. Because of that, they recommend that those who are interested in giving the style a shot start by wearing a loincloth when sleeping, putting one on after taking a bath before going to bed, as is the Japanese custom. “Now that I’ve been wearing a loincloth for a while,” says one fundoshi fan, “I’ve gotten so used to the feeling of freedom they provide that I can’t imagine ever going back to panties.”

Sources: Naver Matome, Kotamatome
Top image: Rakuten (edited by RocketNews24)
Insert images: Rakuten (1, 2, 3, 4) (edited by RocketNews24)