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扇子 Sensu

扇子 Sensu

Sensu, a folding fan, is made with paper pasted on its folding bamboo structure. It is a traditional Japanese craft, and also a necessity that many people use during summer. Called Japanese sensu, the fan is a popular souvenir among foreigners, and can be seen at most tourists spots such as Kyoto and Narita airport. You should buy one as a souvenir when you come to Japan next time.

In Japan, people’s awareness of ecology has been growing, and moves to refraining from using air-conditioners have been increasing in last several years, but summers are growing hotter every year.


Given this situation, what is attracting public attention are sensu (folding fans), a traditional handicraft in Japan. Because it can be folded into a convenient short stick, the number of people carrying a sensu is increasing, and many types of sensu with attractive designs have come to be sold at LOFT stores and other general stores, in addition to the Nakamise Shopping Arcade in Asakusa where a wide variety of Japanese traditional craftworks are available. A Sensu sensu is composed of several to tens of very thin, short bamboo or wood sticks, whose ends are fixed at one point (the pivot) so that it can be opened and folded, with a sheet of paper pasted on a greater part of the sticks. The paper pasted on the sticks is usually Japanese paper, and when a sensu is opened, the part where paper is pasted makes a zigzag-patterned fan. When folded, a sensu is about 2 by 1 by 20 cm, and is very convenient to carry. By In the age of the samurai, people already carried sensu by wearing them at their sides. While a sensu is very useful, its beautiful appearance has also been recognized. Expensive sensu have a surface with a colorful artistic picture of Mt. Fuji, etc., on a gold background. So, some people decorate their houses with opened sensu that have splendid paintings. Sensu appear in rakugo, Noh, kyogen, Japanese dance, tea ceremonies, and other traditional arts. You need great skill to open a sensu quickly with one hand, and if you can do it skillfully, it will make you look cool. Types of sensu and pictures drawn on them differ according to performing arts. Traditional entertainments are performed regularly in Tokyo and Kyoto, and you will find pleasure in attending performances of these entertainments and seeing differences in the sensu used.