Tenugui designs

Here are some interesting tenugui designs. Not all of these are kendo tenugui, some were souvneirs of a particular place like we have souvenir tea-towels.

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This is definitely a kendo tenugui. It reads from right to left and says "sword heart/mind, bright way" meaning, I think that to develop a sharp mind like a sword makes your path in life clear and bright. I think this is beautiful shuji (calligraphy).

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This one was a souvenir from the famous Buddhist temple "Ryoanji" in Kyoto. The design depicts the reason the temple is so famous, its stone garden.

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This is the club tenugui of the Ryujokan dojo in Kumamoto. It was produced as a limited edition for the 1992 Australian Kendo Championships in Melbourne. It is based on the Ryujokan joseki, the character "ken" with a long 'tail'. Here it is sideways.

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This tenugui is a souvenir of Kagoshima in southern Kyushu. It has two of Kagoshima's most famous sons: Okubo Toshimichi and Takamori Saigo. Both men were very important participants in Japan's modernisation about 120 years ago. The shuji reads "Revere Heaven, Love Humanity". Saigo was the inspiration for the film "The Last Samurai" and his picture is everywhere in Kagoshima.

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This is a copy of the "Heart Sutra" a very important text in Buddhism. It's a bit like having a passage from the Bible or the Koran printed on a teatowel. Most Japanese are Buddhist and also Shinto (another Japanese religion). The Heart Sutra is very common thing to find on souvenirs in Japan. It is even printed on coffee mugs!

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This image of a wave is on an extra long tenugui designed to be used in traditional Japanese dance. I love how it always looks like it's about to swamp the rest of the tenugui.

Let me know if you would like to see more of my tenugui collection.

b

Comments

  1. Anonymous7:53 pm

    Wow! Where do you get those tenugui's from? I'd love to start a tenugui collection of my own, they look really beautiful =D

    Is the heart sutra in japanese language?

    -Pei-

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  2. Hi Pei, Some were gifts from visiting Japanese friends and sensei, some I bought in Japan. (Tozando.com have a new tenugui store if you're interested). The Heart Sutra is in Chinese I think. It's all kanji anyway, no kana (other than furigana at the side for pronunciation). b :)

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  3. Anonymous8:17 pm

    Wow, my dad used to try to make me memorize the Heart Sutra lol...to think I'll actually find it on a tenugui! What other tenugui designs do you have?

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  4. (in Japanese pronunciation) "Ma ka han nya ha ra mi ta shin gyo kan ji zai bo satsu gyo jin han nya ha ra mi ta ji sho ken go on kai ku do iss sai ku yaku sh ri shi shiki fu i ku ku fu i shiki shiki soku ze ku ku soku ze shiki... "

    "Oh Sariputra, form is Emptiness, Emptiness is form..."

    Probably sounds a bit different to how you had to learn it, eh Pei?

    b

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  5. Anonymous11:45 pm

    yeah its different but has the same meaning... "se li zhe, form is emptiness, emptiness is form..." =D I'd be interested in getting one with a heart sutra!

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  6. I have a spare Heart Sutra tenugui you could have Pei. It's white with black kanji. b

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  7. Anonymous7:43 pm

    That would be really nice! Thank you =D

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  8. I found this Japanese website that has five pages of tenugui designs for sale. They even have the Heart Sutra!
    http://www.jun-gifts.com/specialcollections/tenuguitowel/tenuguitowel.htm

    b

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