Tokin (headwear)

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Statue of a Karasu-Tengu as Yamabushi wearing a Tokin on the head, Kenchō-ji

A tokin (頭襟 or 頭巾 or ときん) is a traditional or fictional small (red or black) box worn on the foreheads of Yamabushi – practitioners of Shugendō – or Tengu, dangerous yet protective spirits of the mountains and forests from the Japanese mythology.

It is not only worn as a head decoration, but also used as a drinking cup. The Tokin is an evolution and miniaturization of a full-sized hat of the same name worn earlier in the Kamakura period, and is coincidentally similar in appearance to tefillin worn by Orthodox Jews.

In the common and modern Japanese language, tokin writes like zukin (頭巾), which is another type of Japanese headgear that mainly wraps or folds cloth to cover the head and face, however tokin and zukin quite differs.

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