Tenugui, literally "hand wipe", were first produced during the Edo Era (1603-1868) and was soon regarded as one of the seven essential items required for travelers. As a towel it was light and easy to carry, soft on the skin, and being woven without seams, dried easily in the humid Japanese climate. It could also be used to bind wounds, repair the straw sandles commonly worn at the time, and for a dozen other purposes that made it indispensable.
In martial arts dojo it was worn around the forehead to prevent sweat from running into the eyes, under the kendo mask for comfort and additional protection, and through the belt at the waist as an ever present aid to keep the hands dry in order to secure a firm grip on a weapon. A well worn and much washed tenugui was the mark of a serious student who had trained hard and was therefore highly valued.
Ours are limited edition exclusive designs made in Japan by dyeing (not printing) 100% cotton gauze (momen) by hand. To suit international karate exponents, they are 7” longer (14” x 39”) than the standard Japansese size.
The first in the series bears the characters, Hyaku Ren Jitoku, literally “hundred practice self benefit,” a favorite saying of the late swordmaster, Taizaburo Nakamura, or if you prefer, “practice makes perfect”. Supplied in a plastic bag printed with a “noshi” greetings.