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“Sensu” – Japanese Folding Fan Designs

It’s difficult not to conjure up certain images of Japanese culture if you are not a Japanese native. One such image that appears in the mind is that of Geishas and their beautiful handheld folding fans made from bamboo. These fans aren’t just for cooling down though they are a symbol of friendship and are given as gifts on special occasions. And let’s face it, they are wonderful works of art. Here are ten styles that appeal to people from other countries because of their brilliant use of Japanese imagery.


1.Mount Fuji


Mount Fuji is possibly the most famous landmark in the whole of Japan and rightly so. Its majesty can be seen for hundreds of miles around and is one of the most beautiful sights to behold. It’s no surprise then that this is one of the most popular images to have on a bamboo folding fan.




Symbolism is big in Japanese culture and there’s nothing bigger than nature. Nature means a lot in Japan and for generally quite a small country it is packed with nature from south to north. This is probably the biggest design group in all of bamboo fans.



The ocean surrounds Japan and it’s islands. The ocean is a source of food and the gateway to the rest of the world. You won’t be shopping for fans for long before finding one with a wave on. Or maybe even a fishing boat or two.



The idea of a city scape picture on anything isn’t new and Japan is no different. The city imagery of primarily Tokyo and Kyoto appear a lot on bamboo fans – especially on those marketed to the rest of the world. It’s because this imagery is so recognizable to the world.


5.Simple Pattern

Patterns are an obvious design choice for fans. We see patterns everywhere in daily life from décor to clothing. The simple patterned fan has a form of simplistic elegance about it.


6.Complex Pattern

The complex pattern is similar in regard but pushed the boundary a little by creating complex views.



The simplest of fans. Plain white. The one you will encounter more than any other.



Dragons. We could hardly leave this design idea out. It’s a massive design idea. It’s in restaurants all over the world. It’s a public pleaser.



Flowers are everywhere in Japan and you can get a bamboo fan with anything from a single flower to a whole garden on them.



Much like the plain ones the colored ones are very simple they are just a single color. These ones are good for gifts when you know you have a friend who has a favorite color.


So, once you have chosen the fan you want to buy for yourself or as a gift for someone else then why not buy a bamboo folding fan stand or wall mount to show off your new piece of beautiful Japanese culture. You’ll certainly look the part whilst carrying yours around no matter the style.