Loincloths make a comeback with the popularity of fundoshi dance videos and the oppressive heat of Japanese summer rearing its ugly head.

While the material we use to hide our naked frames has advanced in leaps and bounds, with fabrics that allow us to climb like geckos, repel mosquitoesprotect us from radiation or give us a realistically buxom bosom, there are times when we still can’t beat the ingenuity of our forebears. Fundoshi, a traditional type of Japanese underwear, may be one such example, combining both form and function in one small square of fabric.

Earlier this month, we looked at some cool (in both senses of the word) hanten coat-inspired jackets to help wearers beat the heat and look good while doing it. But what would you wear underneath them, or more likely what would you wear in the comfort of your own home when summer strikes and additional layers are best avoided? Enter the fundoshi, a single piece of fabric that when tied covers the parts that need covering and very little else, which was the classic underwear worn in Japan right up until the post-war period. While the benefits of the fundoshi are many, it’s in the sticky, muggy rainy season and summer period that they really shine, with the breathable cotton keeping your man or lady garden suitably ventilated.

▼ You might think the female version of the fundoshi is a little on the skimpy side, but the male version leaves even less to the imagination.

In its dormant, unworn state, the fundoshi doesn’t look like underwear so much as just a square of fabric, so it’s perfect for keeping in your bag or pocket in case of emergencies or unplanned overnight stays. Or to wrap up your worldly belongings and tie to the end of a stick as you head out, Dick Whittington-like, into the big, wide world.

Where fundoshi would have been commonplace in pre-war Japan, they have not been replaced by Western-style undergarments. In recent years though, there has been a resurgence in popularity with fundoshi fans (of whom there are enough for a fundoshi day to be celebrated on 14 February each year) praising the sense of freedom the underwear imparts. To meet this growing demand, underwear makers Sheepeace have released a range of fundoshi for both men and women, available through their website. Less extensively covered in the promotional advertising, but undoubtedly no less important, is the ability to stamp around your home pretending to be an underweight sumo wrestler that comes with every pair.

▼ The same company also makes a fashionable range of fundoshi for men in various colours and designs.

While the clothing brand’s website has a bevy of scantily-clad female beauties to model their wares, the men’s items have to rely on mannequin parts. In the interest of equality, we put a call out for male models to show off their fundoshi in the past, so we didn’t have to go far or wait long (the next-door office and 23 seconds of rapid disrobing, respectively) before we had some volunteers ready to be photographed.

If you want to look as good (or better) than these stylish chaps above, not only will you need your very own fundoshi but you’ll also need to know how to put one on. Fortunately Sheepeace also have you covered with a handy illustration showing you how to safely wrap up your valuables. Follow these four easy steps and you’ll be good to go.

Then, once you’ve got your fundoshi on, how are you going to celebrate your sense of freedom? How about with a fundoshi dance? Twitter user @igachan999, also known as the fundoshi dancer, has been going viral, appearing on several Japanese TV programmes.

▼ The fundoshi dancer in one of his TV appearances.

With plenty of traditional Japanese clothing-inspired wear in vogue at the moment, from mountain climbing to pyjamas and wedding dresses, you can treat your nether regions to a sense of liberation, cool underneath your normal clothes, so no-one knows you’re hiding a (well-ventilated) secret. That, or embrace modern Japan’s contribution to the fashion world, the ahegao hoodie.

Source: Sheepeace, Twitter/@igachan999
Featured image: Twitter/@igachan999
Insert images: Sheepeace, ©SoraNews24, Sheepeace (2, 3), ©SoraNews24, Sheepeace (4)
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