Folding fans are commonly used to make wind especially in summer. However, it is never used in a single way.
Folding fans are usually shaped like picture 1. With several sticks, made from bamboos or other woods, are tied up and fixed into one point called KANAME. Japanese paper is used to attach on these sticks, so that when you open the fans, paper will turn out to be in a zigzag shape.
Then it can be fold up and is easier to carry.
Folding fans and Japanese culture
Anciently, folding fans were called OUGI and were used as a tool for communication. Such as writing Japanese poems on it or decorated with some flowers as presents, which can be found in the Tale of Genji.
Of course, depending on types, they appear in numerous ways through Japanese people’s life.
Here are several types:
Natsu Ougi is the most common type, which can be found in convenient stores, 100 yen shops and any where selling everyday life goods. It is called “Natsu Ougi (Summer folding fan)”, because Japanese people like using it in summer.
Natsu Ougi (Summar folding fan)
Compared to Natsu Ougi in summer, Huyu Ougi, which means Winter Folding Fan, is totally a different story. Huyu Ougi includes Hi Ougi and Cyukei, mainly appear in big ceremonies. Cyukei is also used for performing arts, such as Noh theater and Noh farce, while Hi Ougi appears mainly in Imperial Household and god related activities.
Hi Ougi setting by Shrine Maiden
Mai Ougi are the folding fans for dancers, which appear in Kabuki and Japanese Dancing. Also, Mai Ougis are designed depending on crests of different schools of Kabuki.
Japanese Dancer using Mai Ougi
Gun Sen is a special type, which appears in the hands of military commanders.The sticks are usually black, quite different from other fans. In painting, we can find these kind of fans with a red sun in a golden background or a silver moon in a dark blue background.
Holding fans have a long history, and continuously playing an important role in Japanese people, every life and art, traditional performances.
There is a special way for opening the Folding Fans and here is the video for how to open it elegantly ~ ^^
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