How to Wear Tenugui

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The Japanese tenugui is quickly becoming a fashion statement across the world. This simple cotton hand towel has come to incorporate many exotic designs and colors, making them excellent gifts. Originally a head covering for rituals in Shinto and other ancient Japanese practices, the tenugui possesses many uses from dish cloths to headbands. Many martial artists and construction workers use them for fashion and comfort, and to keep sweat out of their eyes while training.

Place the unfolded tenugui in front of you, and fold it in half lengthwise, with the most vibrant colors on the outside of the fold.

Fold the left-hand side of the tenugui one-third of the way in, with the fold reaching away from you at a 45-degree angle.

Fold the right-hand side in the same manner. The tenugui should now look like a triangle with overlapping sides.

Flip the tenugui so the overlapping sides are now on the bottom or facing you.

Take the overlaps, and fold them into the front portion of the tenugui so they would be behind the head if you were wearing it.

Wrap the folded tenugui around your head, with the best part of the design, often the thickest portion, facing forward. It should snugly cover your ears and forehead without being painful or too tight.

Tips & Warnings

  • Tenugui are very common gifts from shops and may be purchased from both martial arts stores and Japanese marketplaces.
  • If you cannot read the language written on your tenugui, have a translator inspect it before you wear it in public. It is common practice to write vulgar things on them as a prank.

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