Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Fans: Uchiwa vs. Sensu

You may have already seen the two main types of fans in Japan, but do you know their names?

Sensu 扇子 are folding fans, and uchiwa 団扇 are the flat, round fans you see used in the summer, though sensu are also used during the summer as well. Both can be found in department stores, and you can even get cheapies in convenience stores.

In pop culture, the "Uchiha" clan and symbol in Naruto is a play on that, and during the hottest months businesses will sometimes hand out cheap uchiwa with their company logo at festivals or near train stations.

An uchiwa, courtesy Wikimedia.

"17th Miyako no Nigiwai" (Performance): Scene 2 Nagauta Ayameyukata 長唄 菖蒲浴衣
Geiko Tsunemomo and Hinagiku from Gionhigashi, photo by Onihide.

Dancers use larger versions of sensu, sometimes painted with gold and silver, but these are never used while fanning yourself at a festival or standing on the train platform, like normal sensu.

"17th Miyako no Nigiwai": Scene 3 Nagauta Kishi no Yanagi 
Geiko Naosome and Umeha from Kamishichiken, photo by Onihide.

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