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A typical Kendo-style tenugui

A tenugui (手拭い) is a thin Japanese hand towel made from cotton. Typically, tenugui are about 35 by 90 centimeters in size, plain woven, and almost always dyed with some pattern. Usually the long sides are finished with a Selvage whilst the short sides are just cut and thus will soon show some fraying.

A tenugui has a similar function to towels, being used as a washcloth or dishcloth, for example. They are often used as headbands, souvenirs, decorations, or for wrapping bottles and similar items. Towels made from terry cloth have largely replaced tenugui in household use. However tenugui are still popular as souvenirs, decorations, and as a head covering in kendo, where it functions as a sweatband and provides extra padding beneath the headgear (men).

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