People seem to be so wrapped up in labels. Is this a tenkara rod? Is that a tenkara rod? What is a tenkara rod?
Personally, I think they are missing the point. Other than collectors, gear junkies and tackle tarts, no one buys a fishing rod to have a fishing rod, they buy a fishing rod so they can go fishing.
A rod manufacturer can paint any label he wants on the rod. It doesn't change the way the rod fishes. He can specify a grip of any material. It doesn't change the rod's action.
To me, a rod should be chosen based on whether it works well for the type of fishing you want to do, not for the label on the rod or the material of the grip. I know of cork-gripped rods that say tenkara right there on the rod, which I have used and which I do not believe are good choices for tenkara fishing. I know of other rods, ones that don't say tenkara, and don't have cork grips that are truly outstanding at tenkara fishing. I know of several people who, after buying one of the non-tenkara rods, then sold their tenkara rod that it replaced. More people keep their rods but leave them in the closet when they go fishing with the light, sensitive rod that doesn't say "tenkara" on it.
My advice, then, freely given to one and all, is don't worry about the pigeonhole someone wants to put a certain rod in. Choose a rod that is well suited to the type of fishing you want to do.
I have personally fished with the rod models sold here. If I didn't think they were well suited for the type of fishing I'm selling them for, I wouldn't sell them. Simple as that. I should also say that most of the people who complain about this or that rod not being a "tenkara rod" haven't ever fished with it. Simple as that, also.
I want happy customers who love their rods and who'll tell their friends that they love their rods. I don't have a forum or ad budget or PR firm. I have word of mouth. Word of mouth actually works quite well - if the customers are happy.
But please remember, it really is all about the fishing.