1. hand-agitated device for cooling oneself, esp. a collapsible semicircular series of flat segments of paper, ivory, wood, etc.
2. a machine for creating a current of air ar a breeze.
3. an ardent admirer of a pop star, film actor, football team, etc.
The word ‘FAN’ comes from the Latin “vannus” meaning an instrument for winnowing grain. The use of the fan dates from very early times and by the most primitive peoples. Not only have they served as cooling devices, but they were used of winnowing and for activating fires. They are mentioned in the Mahabharata and also in Bible… The folding fan was invented in Japan in the 8th century and taken to China in the 9th century…. Hand fans were reintroduced to Europe in the 13th and 15th centuries. Fans from the Middle East were brought back by Crusaders. In the 15th century, Portuguese traders brought fans to Europe from China and Japan. Fans became generally popular.
In China, the symbol for a fan looks like, and means a bird’s wing. The same basically applies to Japan. The Fan to Japanese is emblematic of life itself. The rivet end is regarded as the starting point and the sticks of the fan expand the leaf, so it shows the road of life widening out towards future. The fan symbolizes friendship, respect and good wishes. There are two basic types of Japanese fans, the flat fan or uchiwa and the folding fan or sensu / ogi. Uchiwa consisted of a circular frame over which paper or silk was stretched. It is believed to have originated from China. Sensu, on the other hand, is considered a Japanese invention. It has developed into a wide variety of styles, shapes, sizes and uses. Its two basic forms are the brise fan and the folding paper fan. Japanese fans can also be classified as to their use:
1.The Court fan or hiougi uses cypress board put in many layers as a material, bounded by silk. There were cypress fans for men and women. The cypress fans of men are of plain white cypress board and was used to record while the cypress fans of women are of fancy colors with intricate designs and used for fashion. It is primarily a symbol of rank and status.
2. The Bat fan or kawahori was so called due to its shape which when unfolded looks like a bat. It was used by priests, nobles and oracles.
3. The Decoration fan is used as display on alcoves and walls.
4. The Summer fan is used especially during the hot and humid summer.
5. The Iron / War fan or gunbai uchiwa and tessen were used in the war to command or give signal to troops. They are sometimes used in martial arts (tessenjutsu).
There are special fans for special events like wedding ceremonies or funerals, the dance fans are fans used in Japanese traditional dances which can differ in several places in Japan, tea parties also require a specific kind of fan…
So, fan is one from the symbols of Japan, one of things what gives Japan an own, unique character.