The role of Sensu(Japanese hand fan)

<The role of a sensu>

You might be thinking that a sensu is to be used only in summer.  It definitely is often seen in hot seasons in Japan, but the role of a sensu is not only to create breeze to make you feel cool.



Sensu was created 1,200 years ago as a to-go memo pad or an accessory for nobles. It was also the symbol for removing the negative vibes, and was a necessity for wedding ceremonies or events. It has been used for sado (tea ceremony) and traditional dances too.

That is why they say that sensu is an important tool in Japanese way of life throughout the year, and not only in summer.




<Greetings using a sensu>


Sensu is a must for Japanese manners. It is always used in sado (tea ceremony) where people sit on the floor in a Japanese room, as well as in formal events.

When greeting people in a Japanese room, one has to put a sensu in front of her/himself. This signifies “a ritual boundary” is made by a sensu. By putting it in the front, one can show respect for others.


When greeting someone standing up, one holds a sensu around one’s belly with both hands. This shows modesty. Since ancient times, Japanese people have expressed gratitude for others using a sensu.



<Kyo sensu>

Kyo sensu refers to fans made from scratch in areas around Kyoto and Shiga in Japan. It is usually made from various artisans’ divisions of labor. However, Kyo sensu sold at our shop is very rare and is made by only one artisan from the beginning of the procedure to the end. 

His kindami (gold lacquer) process is very unique and is made up of various techniques. You can see how beautiful the real gold shines; it can never be replaced by printing.

Kindami Sensu product page HERE



Sensu is considered as auspicious, for its shape indicates “sue hirogari (narrowest at its source and broadest afar off)”, and is worn on life-changing events such as wedding ceremonies.


“Sue hirogari” signifies prosperity, for it spreads out and is broadest afar off. It is used as a memorabilia for various celebrations such as wedding and birthdays. There are kamon which use a sensu as its motif as well; it is also appreciated as one of goods-empowered charms against bad luck.

【Sensu jewelry product page HERE



<Unique ways to use a sensu>

In the Heian period, when sensu started to be used, it was a communication tool to write a waka (Japanese poetry) on, or to put some flowers on, as a gift for loved ones.

It could also be used as a gift mount or mat when one sends someone a present. It was also used for the game called “tou sen kyou” which is now one of “ozashiki asobi (maikos’ party games)”.


Why not make more use of a sensu in everyday life, other than cooling yourself down with in summer?

A sensu is a symbol for loving care and good luck, which means it is an ideal gift for your loved ones. The authentic Kyo sensu carefully made by an artisan sure will bring you happiness as well as cool breeze!