Names of each part of a fan|Explanation of basic knowledge such as structure and main types

A fan is a tool used to blow air and cool off during the hot and humid season. Although the uchiwa fan has its roots in China, it is said that the idea of making a portable, convenient fan-shaped fan was invented in Japan. It used to be called a hiwogi (Japanese cypress fan), which was made by piling up bundles of wood. In Japan, fans have been made since the Nara and Heian periods, and their structure has remained almost unchanged. The basic structure of any fan is the same, consisting of several to several dozen "fan bones" and the surface "fan face. In this issue, we will introduce the names and types of each part of the folding fan, which is loved by many people around the world.

Name of each part of a fan

A fan is made up of various parts, all of which have names. First, let us introduce the name and characteristics of each part of a fan.

Name of each part of a fan

Fan surface

Senmen" is the part of the fan to which paper or cloth is attached on the front side. It is the main part of the fan that creates wind by fanning. In the case of paper-covered fans, this part is sometimes called "ji-gami.

Heaven and Earth

Ten" refers to the top part of the fan surface, and "chi" refers to the bottom part of the fan surface. One way to recognize a good fan is that the top part must be tightly closed. A fan with a fan that folds over tightly when closed will have a beautiful flat top.

Fan bone (Senkotsu)

Senkotsu refers to the frame of a fan. It is mainly made of bamboo, but some high-end products are made of cypress or fragrant wood such as sandalwood. Some casual fans have a fan bone made of plastic. A good fan is characterized by a solidly constructed fan bone.

Oyabone (parent bone)

Oyabone" refers to the thick, sturdy bone at both ends of the fan bone. The narrowed end is made inwardly in order to prevent it from opening accidentally when closed. This narrowed tip is sometimes referred to as the "hips.

Nakabone (middle bone)

The "middle bone" is the inner fan bone sandwiched between the main bone, and is sometimes called the "middle bone. It is characterized by being thinner and more flexible than the main bone. The total number of the middle bone and the main bone is called the number of "ma," which can be as little as 8 ma or as much as 40 ma for a large number. Generally speaking, the more spans, the higher the quality of the product.


Kaname" is the part that holds the main bone and the middle bone together at a single point. It is made of metal or plastic, and is sometimes described as "yame. It is said that the name "Kaname" was originally derived from the name "kani-nome" because of its resemblance to the eyes of a crab.


In short, it is a very important part of the fan that, if broken, will render the fan unusable. This is the origin of the word "kanshin kyoku," which means especially important.


A tassel is a tassel-like object that is attached to a pipe or a ringed tassel. Originally, tassels were attached like a strap through a string and used around the wrist. Nowadays, tassels are often attached to festive fans in red and white, or used as decorations by replacing the tassels with ones of your choice.

Mountains and Valleys

Yama" and "tani" refer to the folds of a fan that are bellows-shaped. The raised side seen from the front is the mountain, and the concave side is the valley.

Main types of folding fans by fan material

Folding fans are sometimes called by the place of production, such as Kyo Senshi and Edo Senshi, but they can also be divided into various types according to the material of the fan surface. Here, we will introduce some of the most common types of folding fans.

Paper folding fan

A fan with a fan made of paper is called a "paper fan. This is the most common type of folding fan used in Japan since ancient times.


Since the bending of the middle bone can generate a large amount of wind, it is suitable for use in order to blow the wind to cool the air. Since paper is pasted together on both sides of the fan, it is difficult to see the middle bone, making it look good.

Cloth fan

Cloth fans are fans that use fabric instead of paper for the fan surface. The fan surface is sometimes embroidered or printed, and features a gorgeous design not found on paper fans. However, since it is thicker than paper, the fabric is stretched on one side. The advantage is that it is durable and tear-resistant, but the back side may not look good because the middle bone is visible.


Since there are different scenes suitable for different fabrics, you can also enjoy changing the type according to the situation and clothes you are going out in. Cotton fabrics are soft and gentle, and will go well with yukata and kimono. Hemp material has a cool and rustic texture and is recommended to match summer clothes or clothes made of the same linen material. Polyester material is characterized by its transparency and goes well with everyday wear and casual outfits. Silk material has a luxurious sheen and will suit business and formal occasions.

Sandalwood fan

There are also ita-fans made of layered pieces of sandalwood, an aromatic wood. Ita-fan is a fan with no paper or fabric attached to its surface. It is not used for the purpose of blowing air, but mainly for enjoying the fragrance. In many cases, openwork or paintings are applied, so you can enjoy not only the fragrance but also the elegant and beautiful design.


For more detailed information on the types of fans, please see the next section.

Main types of fans|Classification by material, use, place of origin, size, and correct usage

Four recommended fans by Ijasen

Ibasen" is a long-established fan maker with a long history of 430 years, founded in Tensho 18. In order to carry on traditional Japanese culture, Ibasen focuses on manufacturing products that incorporate Edo designs and colors. Ibasen's fans are characterized by the use of carefully selected Japanese bamboo, Japanese paper, fibers, and other materials. Here, we would like to introduce some fans full of charm recommended by Ibasen. We hope you will enjoy our proud fans made by the hands of skilled craftsmen.

Ukiyo-e Woodblock print fan, Ukiyo-e Fugaku Sanjurokkei Hokusai, Kanagawa-oki Namiura, with box and fan stand

Fugaku Sanjurokkei (Thirty-six views of Mt. Fuji)" is a series of representative works by Katsushika Hokusai, an ukiyoe artist active in the late Edo period. The most famous of these, "Kanagawa-oki Namiura," is boldly designed. The huge waves splashing wildly in a calm white and blue color scheme make a striking impression. A small fishing boat floats in the middle of the waves, and the contrast between the two adds to the power of the work. Fuji is depicted in the center, obscured by the spray from the waves, a technique that is said to have been used to emphasize the presence of Mt. This is one of Ibasen's most popular limited edition models.

Edo folding fan.

This Edo fan depicts nine horses running to the left. The character "Ma Ku Ikiru" means "going well" and is popular as a lucky guess. Furthermore, the nine horses are said to represent nine different kinds of luck: luck in victory, luck in money, luck in success in life, luck in family, luck in love, luck in health, prosperity in business, a good catch and a good harvest, and success in entrance exams. In addition, the left horse, which is drawn facing left, also has the meaning of "nothing can come out on the right," and is therefore recommended for the most critical moment in the game.

Edo folding fan, double-sided, dragonfly blue

Dragonflies, symbols of a good harvest, were called "kachimushi" (victory bugs) because they only move forward and do not retreat. As an insect of good luck, it was valued by warriors, and dragonfly motifs are used on many items of armory and costumes. Some people use dragonfly motifs as a good luck charm when they have a game to win or something they do not want to give up.

Shikebiki folding fan, medium size

The word "shike" in "shikebiki" refers to the silk threads drawn from silkworms. Shikebiki" is a technique of dyeing delicate striped patterns on fabric with a brush of shike shaved into a comb-like shape. Because all the work is done by hand by craftsmen, shikebiki fans can enjoy deeply tasted stripes and lattices that are different from woven stripes. Nakanada" is a kind of indigo-dyed color, a slightly darker blue. Please enjoy the elegant striped patterns of shisebiki made by expert craftsmen.

Fan Bags and Boxes (Ibasen EC site)


Let's figure out the names of the parts of a fan and pay attention to the details!

We have introduced the names of the parts of a fan, the characteristics of each, and recommended fans. Since a fan consists of various parts, you can enjoy various tastes depending on the combination. Please pay attention to the details and try to find your favorite fan.