|Name||Towel Man (possibly Ryuji Takayama or Hiroshi Toyama)|
|Abilities||Spiritual apparition, psychic abilities.|
Towel Man, as he is commonly referred to among fans, is an enigmatic character who appears in the original Ring films. Seen on the Cursed Videotape, Towel Man is a servant of Sadako Yamamura and her curse. His name originates from the towel or cloth that he wears of his head and covers his face. His identity is truly unknown, but he is speculated to be either Ryuji Takayama or Hiroshi Toyama, both whom were killed by Sadako.
Towel Man is shown to be male, but whether or not he is actually human is unknown. He appears on the Cursed Video, standing by the shore of the ocean pointing to something or in a direction which is not shown. Towel Man wears a buttoned light-coloured shirt and dark trousers. Most notably is the white towel or cloth covering his face and head from sight. Towel Man's purpose on the tape and as part of Sadako's curse is to point viewers in the right direction on how to copy the tape and also to provide help to some degree, possibly being a remnant of Sadako's good side. He also appears before Reiko Asakawa and points to her son Yoichi watching the tape.
His identity has been speculated by fans, and is affectionately referred to as "Towel Head" and "Pointy-kun". Being a major factor in the curse's effects on the viewers of the tape, it has been speculated Towel Man may be Ryuji Takayama and Hiroshi Toyama, both of whom encountered Sadako and were killed by her, although Toyama's death was unintentional and Ryuji's was part of the curse. Towel Man later dorns the clothes Ryuji was wearing on the day he died, a brown shirt and black trousers. Toyama is speculated to be Towel Man because he is also shown wearing the clothes Toyama wore on the day Sadako killed him.
Another guess is that Towel Man is meant to represent the mystery of Sadako's father, appearing as a man with no face in front of the sea - Sadako's father remains unknown but is specualted to be an aquatic demon or creature. What Towel Man is pointing at on the tape is unknown, but he may have been imprinted on the tape from Sadako's clairvoyance ability.
Towel Man has a minor but notable role in the film. He first appears on the tape, first watched by Tomoko and three others, and they are killed by Sadako. Reiko Asakawa, Tomoko's aunt, tracks the tape to Izu and watches it in Cabin B4. The Towel Man appears during the tape, Reiko becoming cursed. She later shows the tape to Ryuji. The two examine the tape to work out what the images mean, and Ryuji manages to pick out a slowed down, almost incomprehensible bit of speech which translates as "frolic in brine, goblins be thine." The quote is later found to originate from Oshima Island where Sadako lived.
Towel Man appears physically outside the tape later on whilst Reiko and Yoichi are visiting Koichi Asakawa's house. Tomoko's ghost awakens Reiko to get her attention, and a vision of Towel Man appears, pointing towards another room in the house where Reiko finds Yoichi watching the tape, apparently told to do so by Tomoko.
Later, Reiko and Ryuji find Sadako's corpse down a well and curse is seemingly over. That is until Sadako emerges from Ryuji's television and kills him. Reiko hears the commotion through her telephone when she calls Ryuji and rushes to his house but is too late to save him. She finds the tape and takes it home, where Towel Man appears for the final time, now sporting Ryuji's clothes and he points towards the video recorder in Reiko's home, leading to her revelation that she copied the tape and must show it to someone else to save Yoichi from dying.
Towel Man briefly appears in Ring 2. Masami Kurahashi, Tomoko's best friend who witnessed her death, was hospitalised and according to doctor Ishi Kawajiri has developed nensha powers. He took several photos of Masami, which reveal images of the cursed tape, including the "Sada" eye image, and an image of the Towel Man. Towel Man does not physically appear in the film aside from the photo, but other characters watch the tape offscreen and its assumed he appears on the tape.
Towel Man mysteriously appears briefly in Ring 0: Birthday, standing on a clifftop overlooking the sea and points to it.
- Towel Man once had his own article on Wikipedia, but it has since been turned into a redirect to Ring's article.
- Reiko Asakawa seems to think Towel Man is Ryuji, but this may just be because of his similar attire.