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What is tetron?

February 23, 2010 / 19 comments, on Hakama

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?

Tetron is…

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.

Best regards,

Toray Industries (America), Inc.
Legal & Administration
Taiichi Kawamura

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.




    June 23, 2010

    “I’ve only seen the term “tetron” used to describe hakama.”

    Tozando sells “tetron” weapons bags. Not a hakama, but still martial arts related. They describe it as “65% polyester/35% rayon”, same as you found.

    I found some place online that claims to sell “Tetron 65% Rayon 35%” from Thailand, but that sounds completely made-up. :-)


    February 21, 2011

    Update: Some have suggested that Tetron is, in fact, Tetoron®. Tetoron® is a brand name of Dupont® and Teijin®. The problem with this theory is that Tetoron® is a PET film. It’s used for a lot of things including electrical insulation, metalized packaging, solar film, white board, magnetic card, etc., but not for clothing (as far as I can tell). Furthermore, Tetoron® is a derivative of polyester and not a blend of polyester and rayon or any other fibers for that matter.

    Long story short, I’m more convinced than ever that “tetron” is just a name that some martial arts clothing manufacturers made up as a marketing ploy to sell more of their polyester/rayon blend hakama.

    Brian Eckart

    May 20, 2011

    I have two pair of pants from TJ Maxx that are labeled as 100% Tetron composition, made in Syria. They also are labeled “Angelo Rossi – Le Collezianni”. The material feels like a fine polyester.


    May 20, 2011

    Very interesting. Thanks for the info!

    stephen ewalt

    June 13, 2011

    I also have pants labeled Angelo Rossi- Le colleziana. 100% tetron and searched for answer to what it was and landed on you. Nice material feels very soft. Nice pants even lined to knee like real expensive stuff.


    July 15, 2011

    Tetoron (pronounced Tetron) is fabric brand from the 60s and 70s made in Japan. It is a blended fabric of Polyester/Rayon and is very hardy and withstands the test of time and will not tear easily and easy to care for.. I still have my school blouse made of the material and does not have one tear on it. It was so hardy that in the long run it may not have turned enough of a profit and went by the wayside. Sam e thing with Poplin. one rarely hears about Poplin anymore but at one time was a material that everyone wanted. Now it is only available in some higher end clothing such as shirts, etc.

    Pat Francis

    August 9, 2011

    I have just bought some beautiful dress fabric at an op shop, so don’t know how old it is, but it has printed along the selvedge: TETORON SILK HAND PRINTED MADE IN THILAND (Their spelling, not mine.) It feels a bit like strong silk, even cotton.

    Susan Andrade

    August 24, 2011

    I make hakama for a living and have recently had several clients ask about ‘tetron’ fabric. Would any 65/35 poly/rayon blend be the same? Does anyone know? How about shrinkage? Poly does not shrink, but rayon certainly does, so it this fabric washable? Currently, I use a 65/35 poly cotton blend called “Trigger” and it seems to work, although it would be heavier than a poly/rayon blend. I would appreciate any input or feedback.


    April 14, 2012

    I just bought a suit . I was in a rush 2 funerals to go to and the last suit I bought was 10 yrs ago . Now that I’m putting the suit away I saw it was tetron , had to google it. Italian hand made $500.00 with shirt tie and suspenders . I feel like I got jacked . I just hope this one lasts 10 years

    Carol Mosher

    June 3, 2012

    So glad to read this article! I was in the Air Force stationed at Clark AB in the late 1970’s. I bought Tetron fabric in the BX for my sew girl to make caftans/robes/loungewear. The fabric was supposed to be a form of synthetic silk, and it was imported, but I am not sure from where. It was exquisite! To this day, I still have the original three caftans. They are printed, and most possibly/probably from Thailand. They have not faded and still are permanent press…..wishing that I could buy more of this wonderful fabric for clothing today. My husband also purchased a poplin fabric for casual shirts; it faded after many years of continuousvwashing and wearing, but had maintained its sturdiness for at least twenty five years before we Good-willed it. Would love to know where I could buy some more !


    September 10, 2012

    How does one wash Tetron? Is it hand wash or machine wash cold? Also can it be dry cleaned …?
    Thanks !


    September 28, 2012

    My 73 yr old mum taught me from early child hood the lace in the windows was called tetron. I have used this word all my life.


    December 11, 2012

    Actually, in Pakistan, lots of people wear salwar kameez made of tetron. Few people even know what it’s made of, just that it’s called tetron and it’s similar to cotton.

    Janice Forbes

    December 17, 2012

    I had a shirt made from tetron that Mum gave me for my 13th birthday in 1961. I’d never heard of the fabric before. It had little give in it and didn’t breath so was hot to wear in hot humid Sydney that summer. I think she bought it at Woolworths.

    Dave Meindl

    June 2, 2013

    Update: Yamato lists some of their hakama as being made from 100% Toray Tetrex. 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. I’ve contacted the Toray company and asked them a set of questions that I hope will shed some light on this whole “tetron” thing. I’ll report back as soon as I hear from them.

    Zanshin Art

    June 8, 2013

    Tetron is, I believe, similar to rayon in being considered a synthetic fabric derived from plant fibers(cellulose perhaps) as opposed to petrochemical fibers (polyester and others). Where it differs from rayon is that rayon is by nature drapy and has a lot of stretch in it. Tetron is great for hakama because it is incredibly hard, non-stretchy, and holds its pleats well.
    BTW, the person who compares tetron to poplin is making a common error in confusing two separate issues: tetron is a fiber, while poplin is a type of weave (hence can be of pretty much any fiber)


    June 13, 2013

    Can tetron suitable to make a bedsheet? I dont want the bedsheet that so slippery and shiny like satin and also so hot when lying on it. The pillow will run away when we put our head on it.

    Thai Craft Warehouse

    August 19, 2013

    Interesting discussion, we run a fabric and clothing supply from Thailand and we sell a lot of TC Cotton. It is difficult to get clear information you can trust here about actual fabric contents, up until recently the TC has been sold to us as 100% Cotton but I have been delving in deeper and some sources are saying the TC stands for Tetron/Cotton, which I believe.

    My guess is it is a poly/rayon blend, and TC has one thread direction (weft/warp) in cotton, the other in the Tetron blend. There are many grades of fabric here that are sold as TC cotton, the type and thickness of the threads used to make the fabric will affect its characteristics.

    In response to Zanshin Art’s note about rayon, it can be either knitted (stretch) or woven (no stretch), we sell both.


    March 21, 2014

    I bought a black trouser in August 2013 in Singapore. Cheap around 20USD, but very robust. The Label says Pierre Cardin – 65% Teteron 35% Rayon – Care on reverse. The material is heavy and strong. Those type of trousers are creating funny dark spots when rain drops are soaked up. The spots turn darker and do not disappear – even when dry. Now the trouser got washed in a european washing machine and went into a tumbler for a Moment to remove wrinkles. Now the whole trouser seems like powdered all over. Have you ever expereinced this with yours, obviously you can’t see it on anything White.

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