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Kansashi or Kanzashi - The Deadly Hairpin of the Samurai

Another of the multi-purpose weapons used in feudal Japan was the kansashi. Again, like many other Japanese weapons, the kansashi (kanzashi) or long hairpin could be used as an everyday tool and, in times of danger, as a deadly weapon!

Used mainly by the women of the Samurai families, the kansashi was a long pin, about 6 inches in length that was easily concealed in its entirety in a woman's long hair. This pin, as a hair accessory, helped women keep their long hair up, to suit a style of dressing employed on formal occasions.

As a means of protection from assault, either in times of war or from street thugs, women were trained to use the kansashi as a weapon. The long, sharp pin could be easily and swiftly removed her bundle of hair and employed to pierce an enemy's throat or other vital organ in an emergency.


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Other women in other societies have also used the hairpin as a protective device. The hairpin allows its wearer to be armed during occassions when more recognized weapons would not be permitted. And given an element of surprise and a moment to act, the kansashi could be effective. Sometimes elaborately ornamental, hairpins such as the kansashi might have simple beads or jewels attached to the top end, or enamaled tops, but, rest assured, they were always kept sharp enough to pierce clothing and skin.

In Japan today, the kansashi or more usually spelled kanzashi refers to any traditional hair ornament that would adorn a woman's hair while wearing a Kimono.

While more typically used by women, a samurai with long hair might also employ the kansashi to hold his hair in place, at times. A warrior who is prepared provides another possibility of survival...

About the Author:  Scott Harker is the publisher of several websites including: Sherlock Holmes Pastiches, Gardening, and Path To God Blog.


Samurai Kansashi Related Items For Sale

Japanese Kanzashi Hair Pin, flower,butterfly
Posted on Thursday June 22, 2017

$18.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Tuesday Jun-27-2017 9:42:07 PDT
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VINTAGE JAPANESE KANZASHI BIRRA COMB HAIRPIN 9 PC. NICE COLLECTION IN SHADOW BOX
Posted on Friday June 23, 2017

$125.00
End Date: Sunday Jul-23-2017 9:03:35 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $125.00
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FLAWED - Vintage Japanese Hokoseko Set Kanzashi Hair Stick Ornamental Purse Red
Posted on Monday May 29, 2017

$20.97
End Date: Wednesday Jun-28-2017 10:55:43 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $20.97
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JAPANESE ANTIQUE MEIJI ERA KANZASHI COMB HAIR PIECE OF BEKKO PEONY
Posted on Thursday June 15, 2017

$150.00
End Date: Saturday Jul-15-2017 15:42:29 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $150.00
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Vintage Japanese Kogai Kanzashi Hair Pin / Hair Ornament Set
Posted on Thursday June 22, 2017

$35.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Jul-2-2017 18:21:46 PDT
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Japanese cute Bira Kanzashi Hair pin, flower, butterfly, Japanese drum
Posted on Thursday June 22, 2017

$38.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Tuesday Jun-27-2017 9:43:23 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $49.50
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Japanese Geisha Comb w/Fabric Case / Kushi Kanzashi Nihongami / Butterfly
Posted on Sunday June 04, 2017

$86.00
End Date: Tuesday Jul-4-2017 17:28:37 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $86.00
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Handmade Cute Traditional Japanese Hair Clip Pink Pin Kanzashi Sakura Flower
Posted on Tuesday June 13, 2017

$4.99
End Date: Thursday Jul-13-2017 13:35:52 PDT
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Japanese Talla Ball Style Kanzashi Coral Colored Glass Hairpin Meiji Pd
Posted on Saturday September 19, 2015

$115.00
End Date: Monday Jul-10-2017 5:37:38 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $115.00
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Japanese Kanzashi Hair Pin 2 set
Posted on Thursday June 22, 2017

$12.80 (0 Bids)
End Date: Tuesday Jun-27-2017 9:12:06 PDT
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Edo Japanese Geisha Kushi Comb Kanzashi Gold Lacquer Makie Hair Kinpaku Urushi
Posted on Tuesday June 13, 2017

$289.99
End Date: Thursday Jul-13-2017 18:31:30 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $289.99
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Sakura Tsumami zaiku kanzashi Hair pin Japanese Flower for Kimono Accessory Sa M
Posted on Wednesday June 22, 2016

$17.98
End Date: Monday Jul-17-2017 4:18:35 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $17.98
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Japanese samurai kanzashi coral and other lot 5D-19
Posted on Thursday June 22, 2017

$10.50 (2 Bids)
End Date: Thursday Jun-29-2017 19:03:46 PDT
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GAISHA's Antique "Kanzashi" Head w/Ume & SAMURAI's R680
Posted on Thursday October 14, 2010

$48.00
End Date: Sunday Jul-9-2017 5:41:52 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $48.00
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News About Japanese Hair Ornaments

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Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969


Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969


Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969


Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969


Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969


Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969


Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

Modern Japan'skansashi or kanzashi - Hair Ornaments

Thriftycrafts: How to make Kanzashi Japanese flower

Use left over mesh, fabric or any materials from a wedding party and make kanzashi flowers! Cut 2 or 3 sets of squares (any preferred size) and second and th...



These are the modern Tsumami Kanzashi for anybody to be able to wear, even when you are not wearing a Kimono.

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