Tetron is a type of polyester made by Toray Industries. Contrary to popular belief, Tetron is not a blend of polyester and rayon (or any other fabric). Rather, Tetron is 100% polyester. Tetron is a registered trademark of Toray Industries.
So, you’re shopping for clothes (or maybe even a hakama) and you see an item made from a material called “tetron”. What the…? I’ve never heard of tetron before. Sounds like a fictitious planet from a sci-fi movie or perhaps the name of a video game or possibly a material used to keep food from sticking to frying pans. So, what the heck is tetron really?
Well, according the the retailers selling hakama, Tetron is a fabric made from two different materials: polyester (65%) and rayon (35%). Hakama made from tetron aren’t going to shrink like ones made from cotton. Cotton “wicks” perspiration away from your body. So, cotton will keep you cooler and drier. However, because polyester absorbs less moisture, it dries faster and is less likely to get moldy. Also, mold only grows on organic material. So, obviously polyester is safe there, too. Polyester is more durable than cotton. So, a tetron hakama may hold up longer. It’s also more dirt-resistant. So, you won’t have to wash your hakama as often.
On the origin of the term “tetron”
I’ve only seen the term “tetron” used to describe hakama. I have never seen any other fabric claiming to be made from “tetron” despite the fact that I have a shirt and a bed comforter both made from the same blend in the same proportions. And as far as I can tell, “tetron” is not a real name for any kind of fabric. I searched the sites of several online fabric retailers for the term “tetron” and came up with nothing. They don’t sell tetron or anything made from it (although they do sell fabrics made from 65% polyester/35% rayon. ;)) There’s no definition for “tetron” in any online dictionary (not related to martial arts) anywhere that I could find. There’s nothing in Wikipedia or Encyclopedia Britannica.
So, I’m tempted to think that one of the retailers of hakama figured that the phrase “polyester/rayon blend” wasn’t very marketable. So, they created the term tetron to describe (and sell more of) the hakama made from this blended fabric. Of course, as soon as the other hakama retailers saw that their competitor was selling hakama made from a cool-sounding fabric called “tetron”, they had no choice but to follow suit.
That’s just my theory, anyway. I could very well be wrong. It’d be interesting to know how the whole “tetron” craze got started. Got any information on the true origin of the name tetron?
Update 06/03/2013: Mystery Solved!
Yesterday I noticed that Yamato was selling hakama which they described as being made of 100% Toray Tetrex. They listed the fabric as being 65% polyester/35% rayon. Toray is a Japanese company that makes a polyester fiber called Tetoron which is used in clothing. Unfortunately, they don’t list a “Tetrex” on their website. So, I contacted them hoping to get to the bottom of this whole “Tetron” thing. Here’s the response.
Thank you for contacting us.
Tetron means 100% polyester fiber, not any blend with other material.
Tetrex is also our trademark, and we manufacure it. It is used for 100%
polyester-made textile or mixed textile of polyester and rayon.
I hope you will find this info helpful.
Toray Industries (America), Inc.
Legal & Administration
In my message to Toray, I asked about “Tetoron” (with an “o”). I never mentioned anything about “Tetron” (without an “o”). Interesting that Kawamura spelled it “Tetron.” So, it seems “Tetron” and “Tetoron” are meant to be the same product.
In his words, Tetron (without an “o”) is 100% polyester. No blend. No rayon.
“Tetrex,” on the other hand, can be a polyester/rayon blend.
So… any hakama (or any clothing at all, for that matter) that is made from a polyester/rayon blend might be Tetrex. But it is definitely not Tetron.
But at least we now know that Tetron does exist. It is a type of polyester made by Toray. We also know that a lot of hakama made of a polyester/rayon blend falsely claim to be made of Tetron. They might be made of Tetrex, but they might not. That mystery may never be solved.