Furoshiki - The Great Wave off Kanagawa

Our custom furoshiki lets you carry 5-20 ropes... stylishly! 

You can buy this furoshiki separately... or get it free with an order of 15 or more ropes!

History of furoshiki

Over 1,200 years ago, the Japanese washed themselves in public baths called sentō. However, leaving their clothes in a pile let them get dirty or mixed up with the clothes of other bathers. To keep them separate, bathers began bundling their clothes in square cloths called furoshiki. By the mid-Nara period (750 AD), they were commonly used.

Gradually, furoshiki began to also be used to bundle laundry and goods to protect and transport them.

As their use spread, they also were used to wrap gifts. Unlike wrapping paper, furoshiki are removed and immediately returned to the gift giver; furoshiki aren't considered part of the gift.

We break tradition a little bit - our furoshiki are shipped in packaging to keep them bright and clean. And whether you’ve bought the furoshiki, received it as a bonus, or been gifted it by someone else, we ask that you use it to carry your ropes rather than return it. We hope you don’t mind.


Modern furoshiki are made from silk, cotton, rayon, nylon, and other materials. Douglas Kent furoshiki are made of polyester (a form of nylon) because polyester has better stain, wear, and wrinkle resistance than cotton. Silk is too expensive for everyday use, even in Japan.

Furoshiki are very typically square. Their sizes aren't rigidly standardized,but there are common sizes. Douglas Kent furoshiki are quite large at 70 cm, which we found conveniently held 5-15 bundles of 8 m ropes.


Furoshiki may be tied in many ways, depending on the shape of the object(s) being wrapped. Each furoshiki comes with a PDF booklet of instructions for techniques that are well suited for bundling rope. Click to preview Using Your Douglas Kent Furoshiki.

As you use it, your furoshiki will get dirty. Don't let it bother you! The furoshiki is protecting your rope! And while your rope can't easily be cleaned, your furoshiki is fine with machine wash.

Furoshiki series 1: The Great Wave off Kanagawa

The Great Wave off Kanagawa is perhaps the most famous ukiyo-e print ever created. It was made by Hokusai around 1832. It’s part of Hokusai’s Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji, but The Great Wave is the most popular of the set, by far.

Hokusai’s design isn’t entirely original. Kanagawa-oki Honmoku no zu... 

...and Oshiokuri Hato Tsusen no Zu...

...are extremely similar images. Both were created almost 30 years earlier. However, Hokusai's Great Wave shows better composition and balance.

Hokusai’s Great Wave is much more dynamic than the other two, with a perspective below, rather than above the wave. As a result, the wave seems more fluid and threatening.

The woodcut has two blocks of text. The first, inside the box, translates to “Thirty six views of Mount Fuji / offshore from Kanagawa / Beneath the wave”. The second, translates to “From the brush of Hokusai, who changed his name to Iitsu”. Hokusai changed his name 30 times during his career; four times during his “Thirty six views” set.

The Great Wave was printed at least 5,000 times. Despite the loss of most, copies are still purchasable by individuals of only moderate wealth. The design has been used widely in Japan and beyond, appearing on products and in art in many forms. Many of the reproductions use only iconic elements and many don't respect the balance of the original work.

The Great Wave is now in the public domain, but we wanted to reproduce it in a manner that maintained the balance of the original work better than many of the reproductions have.

The original woodcut is quite small - only 25.7 cm x 37.8 cm, so our furoshiki, at 70 cm square, is more than quadruple the original area. However, since furoshiki are typically square and The Great Wave is quite rectangular, we had a design problem. A cropped image didn’t look good, nor did a big blank area around the top and bottom. So we extended the sky to cover the entire furoshiki without cropping or resizing the original image. We kept our own logo small and away from the image.

The result is a branded furoshiki that’s tasteful and respectful of the original woodcut.

We’re really pleased with our series 1 furoshiki! We intend to print each series only once. Series 1: The Great Wave off Kanagawa is limited to 500 units. Get it before it's gone!


This product includes free worldwide shipping!


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