Kyoto Shimbun 2009.2.12 News

Women's Fundoshi a Hot Seller
More than Double the Projected Sales

"Fundoshi," or traditional Japanese loincloth underwear for men, made especially for women is selling well. Free from the constriction of elastic, it's said to be comfortable and easy to wear. New designs with cute pink or floral motifs are now also available. There are blockbuster product types with sales of more than double the initial projection.

Major lingerie maker Wacoal's subsidiary, "une nana cool," located in Minami Ward, Kyoto City, released "nanafun," a fundoshi product sold 1,260 yen, in December 2008. Nanafun is traditional style underwear where a lace is tied around the waist and cloth is wrapped from the backside, draping over the front, but the 80 centimeter cloth is somewhat shorter than is traditional, and has a pink or yellow border. Many sets with a string-type bra were purchased as gifts, and about 2,600 have been sold, far exceeding the goal of 1,000 by the end of February.

A merchandise division representative explained, "customers of all age groups, from their teens to their fifties, have purchased the underwear, and they say it's easy to wear and comfortable." The company will release a new product with a check pattern in April.

Women's fundoshi showed up in the market about three years ago, and products with various colors and motifs can be found on the Internet. Mieux, an online retailer and pioneer of women's fundoshi, based in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture, started selling them as "Pendre Shorts" in 2006, and boasts a lineup of more than 60 types including ones with heart-shape patterns or Japanese style motifs. Sales for women's fundoshi took off last year, with monthly sales reaching as high as 3,000. Men's underwear makers have broken into the field as well. "Takahashi Hosei" of Fukuchiyama City, which produces trunks and men's fundoshi, has started a trail for selling women's fundoshi at Tokyo clothing shops targeting young shoppers since last fall, due to wholesale agents' demand. The company's president said, "I want more women to experience the unconstrained comfort of fundoshi."

(translated by Galileo, Inc.)

Photo= Women's fundoshi, "nanafun," sold by une nana cool. It's said to be popular due to its comfortable feeling of freedom from elastic constraint (Minami Ward, Kyoto)