olding fans originated in Japan. Fan that can be folded was firstly made in Japan and then introduced into China. Dansens (Tuansen in Chinese) that have been used in ancient China  is called “Uchiwa” nowadays.

In the early years of Heian period (794 – 1185), at the time of Shou-wa (an era name, 834 – 848), there was an institution in  which the emperor bestowed fans on courtiers at court, ‘Saikyuki’ (the record of court practices and usage, written in Chinese style by MINAMOTO no Takaaki – cited from wikipedia) explains. Consequently, it is thought that by that time folding fan was already invented and used in the Metropolis of Kyoto.


he first fan is made of the mokkan (narrow strip of wood on which an official message is written), by binding their one side together. They are called Hi-ougi meaning Japanese cypress fan. See the left picture.

Since then Hi-ougi becomes one of the must-item for men of the court. Recently, many Hi-ougis shaped Chinese windmill palm and circle was found from the Heijo-kyo (the imperial capital named Heijo, official website: http://www.kkr.mlit.go.jp/asuka/heijo/english/index.html) ruins. From the latest research, it is thought that painted fans begun from the Heian era.



Soon fans prevailed among women in the court. Gracefully ornamented with various paintings fans became their personal belongings. On the most old Hi-ougi found from inside of the arm of the statue of Buddha in the temple, To-ji in Kyoto, there is wording of the first year of Genki (879). Paper fans was also invented with wood fans in the Heian period, brought to China with hi-ougis and had widely spread to much further Europe.


hrough its history, almost all fans were produced in Kyoto. Old fan selling stores in Kyoto name itsself ”ami” (person with the aim for becoming Buddha) , and we, Kyosendo either.


The present head is the Sixth. His ancestor was a samurai serving the domain of Toyama Uozu, as his ancestor. After he joined Ishiyama Honganji-war (1570 ~ 1580) at the Age of Civil War, he served Hongan-ji, one of the most powerful Buddhism temple at that time. He pursued learning of making  folding fans under the “Mochi-ami” that was fan making factory in the Tetsmsvhi doori Go-jo street and then opened Kyosendo in 1832.