Fans however were not only used in hot weather but also in different cultural and social contexts, like Japanese dances performed by geishas, or in the military, as the Japanese war fans.
“A WAR fan?” many of you will ask. Precisely. 🙂
A war fan was originally an alternative weapon used by the samurai, mainly to defend himself when he could not use his sword. War fans were of different types and form. Some were used for signalling, others as real weapons. They were made of materials like iron, wood, brass or bronze, and looked like everyday harmless objects that samurais used to carry in their belts. But if necessary, as in the case of an ambush, war fans could be used to avoid arrows or to attack enemies.
The art of fighting with war fans is still practised in martial arts, and is really fascinating. Have a look at this VIDEO (click to open new window), showing a n incredible War Fan Kata performance (a kata is a combination of moves that simulate attack and defense in many martial arts) at a martial arts championship.