What is the difference between a fan, a folding fan, and an uchiwa fan? History of each and 6 recommended products
Fans and uchiwa fans are familiar to us all. They are all known as tools used to create a breeze by fanning with one's hands, but what exactly are the differences between them? This article explains the differences and history of fans, folding fans, and uchiwa fans. In addition, Ibasen, a long-established company, recommends fans, folding fans, and uchiwa fans.6Ibasen's recommended fans, folding fans, and uchiwa fans. If you are planning to buy a fan or an uchiwa fan, please keep in mind the differences in their characteristics.
Difference between a fan, a folding fan, and an uchiwa fan
First, we will explain the difference between a fan (ougi) and a fan (sensu), and between a fan and an uchiwa (fan). Let's also keep in mind the changes that have occurred in the language over its long history.
Difference between a fan and a sensu
Nowadays, "fan" and "folding fan" are generally used to mean almost the same thing. However, the word "fan" used to refer to any tool that was held in the hand and used to create a breeze. The difference is that the word "fan," on the other hand, referred to a folding fan that could be folded and carried around.
Difference between a fan and an uchiwa fan
Like the fan, the "uchiwa" fan used to be a tool to create wind by fanning, and was included in the fan category. Nowadays, however, uchiwa fans are used differently from fans. Today, a fan is a circular piece of Japanese paper or cloth attached to a bamboo frame. Unlike fans and folding fans, uchiwa fans cannot be folded.
History of fans, folding fans, and uchiwa fans
How did fans, folding fans, and uchiwa fans originate and take on their current forms? We will tell you the history of these tools that have been used traditionally in Japan.
History of Fans and Folding Fans
Foldable tools such as fans and folding fans are said to have originated in Japan in the early Heian period (794-1185). The first one was called a "hinoki fan" and was made of wood. Hinoki fans were made of wood and bound with a hole punched in the end of a wooden letter, and mainly served as a notepad for men to write down the manners and etiquette of the court. Gradually, hinoki fans came to be decorated with gorgeous colors and pictures, and eventually became popular among the women of the court. The hinoki fans held by women were called "Ano-no-Ougi" (formal name for a hinoki fan), and they were also favored as ornaments.
Later, the "kawahori-ogi," a paper fan with a bamboo frame and paper attached to one side, appeared. It is not certain when the bat fan was born, but it is similar in shape to modern fans and folding fans. The bat fan was exported to China, where it was transformed into a fan with paper pasted on both sides, and reimported to Japan, where it became widespread. It is thought that this is how modern fans and folding fans were created.
History of Fans
The uchiwa has a longer history than fans and folding fans. There are records of the use of fans in ancient China and Egypt. The tool used in China at that time was called "shades" and was shaped like a fan with a long handle. It was used by people of high rank as a symbol of authority. It seems that shades were used to hide the body and keep cool. Later, shades were introduced to Japan and have been excavated from remains from the Kofun period.
Recommended fans, folding fans, and uchiwa fans
Finally, we would like to introduce some recommended fans, folding fans, and uchiwa fans. Modern items come in a wide variety of designs and types, and many people use them in their daily lives and hobbies. Please take a look at our selection guide.
Recommended fans and folding fans
Fans and folding fans are compact and easy to carry. They also make the person using them look elegant when cooling off. They are also recommended for those who want to enjoy coordinating them with a kimono.
Edo folding fan No.15 "Bakku go
This is a fan with a motif of nine horses for good luck. The character means "all will go well" or "everything will go well" in Chinese characters. The nine horses represent the nine fortunes of victory, money, success in life, family, love, health, prosperity in business, a good catch and a good harvest, and success in entrance examinations. All of the horses face left, which means "there is nothing to the right," and is also meant to increase one's luck in the game.
Shimebiki Fan, Double-sided Pattern, Purple [Reprinted in Japanese lacquer] with Paulownia Box and Bag, 7.5
Shimebiki folding fan, double-sided, purple (Reprinted in Chinese lacquer), with paulownia box and bag. 7.5 cm
This is a high quality fan made of high quality bamboo coated with our original color scheme of Hon-Urushi lacquer. The purple fan with brushstrokes is finished by a traditional technique called "shikebiki". We recommend this product to those who are looking for a high-quality fan suitable for an adult's attire. The accompanying pouch is beautifully embroidered with a shikebiki pattern. Please use it for carrying and storing.
Ukiyo-e Woodblock print fan, Ukiyo-e Fugaku Sanjurokkei Hokusai, Kanagawa-oki Namiura, with box and fan stand
A woodblock print is a letterpress print made from a wooden base plate. This is the only fan with a woodblock print among the fans handled by Ibasen. The decorative fan from "Fugaku Sanjurokkei (Thirty-six Views of Mt. Fuji)," known as Katsushika Hokusai's masterpiece, is one of the most popular ukiyoe prints in Japan and abroad as "Kanagawa Okinamiura" with its powerful giant waves and Mount Fuji. The fan with its gorgeous design is also appreciated in gift-giving situations as an indoor decoration. The included fan stand can be hung on the wall or placed in a stationary position, so it can be displayed wherever you prefer. 
This fan gives a cool and chic impression. Because of its air volume, it will be useful in many situations during the hot season. It is also a perfect item to take with you when you go out in yukata (light cotton kimono).
Edo style fan, 12 months in the Imasyo style, Toyokuni, Nakatsu (May in the lunar calendar)
This is an Edo uchiwa fan decorated with "Nakanatsu no zu" from "Imasama 12 Months," a series of fan paintings by Toyokuni Utagawa I. Toyokuni Utagawa was the founder of the Utagawa school. Toyokuni Utagawa was a member of the Utagawa school and gained popularity for his paintings of actors and beautiful women. This product was printed and produced by Ibasen, the publisher, based on the existing woodblocks of fan paintings. The unique structure of the fan is utilized to create a playful design with beautiful paintings on the front and back. 
Ukiyoe Hiroshige, Snow
This is an Edo ukiyoe fan of "Edo Meisho Yuki" (Edo Meisho Snow) by Hiroshige Utagawa, a famous ukiyoe artist of famous landmarks. Utagawa Hiroshige is known for his many landscape paintings, including his masterpiece "The Fifty-three Stages of the Tokaido. The fan depicts two geisha walking through the town of Naka with umbrellas on a snowy day. This ukiyoe boldly depicts the townscape of the time, incorporating Western perspective. The print was printed and produced by Ibasen, a publisher, based on the existing woodblocks of fan paintings. 
Edo fan, large full moon No.56
Edo uchiwa fans are handmade by craftsmen using traditional methods that have been handed down since the Edo period (1603-1868). Each product has its own unique character depending on the pattern of the fabric, so no two are alike. You can enjoy the unique flavor of each one-of-a-kind product.
Let's choose a fan, a folding fan, and an uchiwa fan, keeping in mind the differences and characteristics of each.
So far, we have told you about the differences and history of fans, folding fans, and uchiwa fans. In modern times, a folding fan is called a "fan" or "sensu" if it can be folded and carried, while a round piece of Japanese paper or cloth that cannot be folded is often called a "uchiwa" or "uchiwa. Both are hand-held tools for creating a breeze and are often used in daily life. Since which product to choose depends on the purpose of use, please select a fan, folding fan, or uchiwa fan suitable for your usage by keeping in mind the differences and characteristics introduced above.