The folding fan is widely used in Japan by both men and women.
The Japanese name is Sensu, (扇子 Nihon kenchiku)
There were also fighting fans, used for various purposes, the most significant being the use linked to communication through the sensu, the fan.
The martial art of the fan is tessenjutsu.
Today we find their use also in sumo competitions, used by referees.
Invented in Japan, starting from the idea of ​​uchiwa, but improving it making it more comfortable and manageable. The sensu was born in the Heian era, the same material is kept for the skeleton of the fan, bamboo, paper (washi) is applied directly on the sticks, so that it can be folded.
It has the same use as uchiwa, but is also used in rakugo, a comic monologue from the traditional theater of the Rising Sun, and in nihon buyou, a Japanese dance. The geishas used it for dances that mark the passing of natural events, such as the passing of the seasons or during the tea ceremony. Not only that, even the feudal lords used the large sensu as a sign of their family.
The sensu, on the other hand, is nothing more than the foldable (and therefore more easily transportable) version of the uchiwa. It appeared during the Heian period (794-1185) and is also composed of bamboo sticks and washi paper glued directly to the sticks.
In addition to its more common summer use, it is used both in Rakugo (the traditional Japanese comic monologue) and in Nihon Buyou (traditional Japanese dance), but also in group dances of the summer matsuri. This too can obviously be richly decorated, both on paper and on bamboo.
How can you imagine that an object that looks so simple could have so many purposes? In the feudal age, in Japan the fan was also used in war, built with different materials and sizes, based on the purpose for which it was to serve. For example, high-ranking officers carried with them the dansen uchiwa, large iron fans with a wooden structure, which were used to give orders to the troops, to defend against arrows or as a parasol.
The tanto, on the other hand, was a case in the shape of a closed fan, which hid a steel dagger inside, used for personal defense by both men and women.
A very important folding fan in the history of Japan is the tessen, it takes its name from the martial art tessenjutsu, practiced by the samurai and named after the use of the fan. Also called gunsen, they were made of wood with external rods of iron or steel, in order to resist and parry the blows inflicted by the enemies.
The fan was not only a weapon but also a means of communication, as already described above they could be made of iron or made of ribbons or paper and wood, the commander thus gave orders to his soldiers, raising, lowering or pointing in different directions the item.

%d bloggers like this: