Ever since the early 9th century, Japanese craftsmen have enchanted people of all ages with the sensu (folding fans). To create the object, a sheet of cloth or paper decorated with motifs from nature such as plants, animal, or landscapes is placed over a framework of bamboo or wood. Originally a set of wooden boards used for recording sensu were employed at palace ceremonies and dances, where only the nobility was allowed to carry them. Later, the use of sensu spread among the commoners and the fans were adapted for daily use in cooling oneself down. Sensu continue to be cherished today, and the shape of a sensu, which broadens toward the end, is believed to bring the owner good fortune, For this reason, the fans are often used as room ornaments and charms.
With their lovely patterns of animals, plants, or geometrical shapes neatly arranged on a limited surface, sensu unfold to provide a microcosm of Japanese aesthetics. Pleasant to look at, lightweight, and compact, they are among the best souvenirs of a trip to Japan. Sensu can be found during a cultural exhibition “Staying Cool in Summer – Japanese Wisdom and Beauty” from August 8 to September 25, 2019 at the Keio Plaza Hotel, and also in the hotel’s drug and souvenir shop.
Updated: July 26, 2019