Traditional Japan: Tenugui and Omamori
In July’s Summer Matsuri themed Doki Doki crate, we featured a few kawaii-takes on traditional Japanese summer items. The tenugui and omamori have a long history in Japan and both these items can be found in most Japanese homes. Let’s learn more!
Although tenugui is used more for decorative purposes these days, it’s original use was as a towel! Before the introduction of terry cloth material in Japan, people used thin cotton as washcloths, towels, and dishcloths. Labor workers also used these strips of cloth as a bandana to keep sweat out of their eyes.
In modern times, tenugui is a popular souvenir and can be used a multitude of ways! It can be used to wrap a gift, as a placemat or table runner, or can be hung from wooden dowels as a display. During festivals, it’s still used as a headband and come in prints with kanji lettering and summer motifs.
Here are some ways that we use tenugui at the Japan Crate office!
Did you get any fun ideas on how to use your tenugui? Let us know in the comments below!
rituals will keep the present and the past connected. It’s become such a large part of Japanese culture that many people do not even feel that it’s religion but rather a way of life!
While there are several large temples all around Japan, there are also smaller shrines in neighborhoods. Residents often stop by to give a quick bow to pay their respects and to pray for good day. Japanese people can be quite superstitious so it’s not uncommon to find statues or calligraphy banners in homes and establishments to help ward off evil spirits and to invite good luck. You may find little good luck charms hanging from bags and cell phones as well.
mori are special amulets and each one can bring a different type of luck! There are ones for studying, to ward off evil, to bring love, for traffic safety, for a successful business; the list goes on! The omamori in July’s Doki Doki crate will bring you good luck and happiness.
Omamori isn’t the only way to carry luck with you every day. You can also find charms that come in shapes of animals, Shinto deities, or objects that are considered lucky in Japan. We included a small frog that is supposed to ensure safe travels! The most famous animal charm is the maneki-neko, or “beckoning cat”, which can be found at many businesses. There are many folktales about the origin of this cat, but the common belief is that the cat “beckons” good luck to it’s owner.