I don't even know where this one is for, let alone what it says. The rope design is a common one in traditional Japanese culture. It represents the sacred rope used in Shinto to signify the presence of a deity or "kami-sama".
This one is definitely a kendo tenugui and says "the Great Way with No Beginning".
This one I can lay claim to myself, as I was asked to design it by Macak sensei for the 1997 National Champioships. The writing was done many, many times to get it "right"! The logo is the symbol for the Victorian Kendo Renmei which is based on the Southern Cross (Jap.- minami juji), the main component of the state coat of arms. I was very happy that this tenugui was made in Japan and so is "printed" on both sides.
This one should be familiar to anyone who has visited the Kenshikan in Melbourne. It is the dojo joseki, and is by the late Nakakura sensei. It says "butoku" which means martial virtue (Nagae sensei once translated it to me as "braveness and courtesy"). On the left hand side is the artist's signature and seals. It reads "Hanshi kyu (9) dan Nakakura Kiyoshi".
This one I'm not too sure about. I think it says either "myogen" or "genmyo". Both kanji mean (literally) "something mysterious", but I don't know if they have a special meaning when together. I quite like how the kanji are quite small and don't fill up the space.
This tenegui is a souvenir from the 1998 Kyoto Taikai, held every May at the Butokuden. The Kyoto Taikai is only for the highest ranked kenshi, and is one fo the few places you can still see 9 dan kenshi in competition (thogh maybe not fir much longer...). This image is of a character from a Noh play. He wears the mask of an old man and stands in front of the ancient pine tree that is painted on all Noh stages. Here is a close up of his face...
This is another souvenir from the Kyoto Taikai. Of course it is of cherry blossoms, which bloom about the same time as the Taikai is held.
This was the first tenugui I ever got when I started kendo in 1984. It is from the International Kendo Leaders' Summer School in Kitamoto. When I finally attended the Summer School nine years later, they were still giving out the same tenugui. The red spot is of course the same as the Japanese flag, called the "hinomaru" (sun circle). The tenugui has a text from the Gedatsu Kai, a modern religion that mixes Shinto and Buddhist beliefs. They host the Summer School every year. It seems that kendo is a part of their religious practice (God bless 'em!).
Phew! o.0 That's enough for now. More later maybe.