Following the success of the Furoshiki Design Contest held in February this year, the Japan Foundation, Kuala Lumpur (JFKL) is now accepting submissions for the Tenugui Design Contest.

Tenugui is a traditional Japanese cotton towel that is a staple in Japanese homes.

The long sides are finished with selvage, which prevents it from unravelling or fraying.

The short sides are simply cut, with the “unfinished” edge an important part of the aesthetic. The loose threads are a part of a tenugui’s appeal, and it is a mark of their authenticity. It comes in a standard size of 35cm x 90cm.

“This rectangular towel is used as an everyday item such as a washcloth or dishcloth, but also as decoration, a present or souvenir, or as a wrap or as a headband.

“It is a versatile item which is endlessly useful. It has a long history in Japan and it became popular among the people when cotton was cultivated during the Edo period (1603-1868). In the 1990s, a few companies came up with contemporary patterns based on traditional elements, which led to the revival of tenugui that continues till this day,” says Amira Sabri, JFKL programme and administrative officer.

The Tenugui Design Contest is themed “Malaysia + Japan” with participants encouraged to creatively incorporate diverse Malaysian and Japanese cultural elements.

The top three winners will take home cash prizes of RM1,500, RM1,000 and RM500 respectively.

The contest is open to Malaysians aged 18 above. Closing date for entries is Oct 31. The design template is provided on the JFKL website here.

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