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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 Stick, Blue Tensha Bead w/ Dangle Design Hair Accessory
Posted on Monday July 10, 2017

$17.50
End Date: Wednesday Aug-9-2017 8:44:38 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $17.50
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Japanese Antique Comb Kogai Kanzashi Lacquer Wood Tortoiseshell Kinomo Geisha
Posted on Thursday July 20, 2017

$185.50 (3 Bids)
End Date: Thursday Jul-27-2017 21:00:42 PDT
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Japanese Kanzashi Metal Hair Stick Silver-tone W/Butterfly Design Hair Ornament
Posted on Thursday October 27, 2016

$15.50
End Date: Wednesday Aug-23-2017 15:41:23 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $15.50
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Japanese Traditional Antique Kanzashi Corals Geisha Hair Ornament
Posted on Monday July 17, 2017

$125.00
End Date: Wednesday Aug-16-2017 18:15:47 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $125.00
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Japanese Handmade Gold-tone "Sensu" Fan Kanzashi Wood Stick Hair Accessories
Posted on Friday October 23, 2015

$12.50
End Date: Sunday Aug-13-2017 20:39:35 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $12.50
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Vintage Japanese Kogai Kanzashi Hair Pin / Hair Ornament Set
Posted on Thursday July 20, 2017

$35.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Jul-30-2017 21:44:29 PDT
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Vintage Japanese Geisha Hair Stick Kanzashi Hairpin Gold Fringe Imperial Mon Fan
Posted on Tuesday July 18, 2017

$48.00
End Date: Thursday Aug-17-2017 13:01:40 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $48.00
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Japanese Kanzashi Hair Stick Tensha Bead w/ Flower Swirl Design Hair Accessory
Posted on Tuesday March 28, 2017

$17.50
End Date: Friday Aug-25-2017 20:26:59 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $17.50
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Japanese Hair Ornament Kanzashi Rainbow Flowers Silver Links Red Wisteria Bells
Posted on Tuesday July 04, 2017

$34.00
End Date: Thursday Aug-3-2017 7:12:53 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $34.00
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Japanese Maiko Geisha Kimono Floral Tsumami Kanzashi Hair Ornament w/ Prong #80
Posted on Thursday May 07, 2015

$15.45
End Date: Thursday Aug-24-2017 20:45:22 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $15.45
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Japanese Antique Comb Kogai Kanzashi Lacquer Wood Tortoiseshell Kinomo Geisha
Posted on Thursday July 20, 2017

$170.00 (2 Bids)
End Date: Thursday Jul-27-2017 21:00:33 PDT
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JAPANESE ANTIQUE MEIJI ERA KANZASHI COMB HAIR PIECE OF BEKKO PEONY
Posted on Tuesday July 18, 2017

$120.00
End Date: Thursday Aug-17-2017 11:58:24 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $120.00
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GAISHA's Antique "Kanzashi" Head w/Ume & SAMURAI's R680
Posted on Thursday October 14, 2010

$48.00
End Date: Tuesday Aug-8-2017 5:41:52 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $48.00
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18" VTG 1960s Japanese Princess Geisha Doll Samurai Helmet Kanzashi Lacquer Base
Posted on Sunday July 09, 2017

$49.00
End Date: Tuesday Aug-8-2017 14:17:13 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $49.00
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News About Japanese Hair Ornaments

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A mystery to even the Japanese, here, the ultimate form of currency is not how much you have, but rather who you know, and making the acquaintance of an ochaya patron is like hitting the jackpot. ... Her impressively symmetrical hair, which is done ...

Transform your hairdo in the name of the moon with these Sailor Moon kanzashi! - RocketNews24
Posted on Wednesday July 27, 2016


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Transform your hairdo in the name of the moon with these Sailor Moon kanzashi!
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Attending such events while dressed in a yukata is a popular way to experience Japan's unique summer conventions, enjoyed by both locals and tourists. And if you're looking for the perfect complement to your yukata, you need look no further than Wargo ...

The History Of Hair Accessories, Summed Up With The 7 Most Important Moments - Bustle
Posted on Wednesday June 24, 2015


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The history of hair accessories spans a diverse range of styles on both women and men, from bobby pins to brightly colored beads and everything in between. Though, at the moment, hair accessories are ... From ancient Roman times where elongated pins ...

4300+ exhibitors: World's largest Gifts & Premium Fair opens in Hong Kong - eTurboNews
Posted on Thursday April 27, 2017


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To help buyers easily locate items, various product zones are set up including those for Corporate Gifts, Green Gifts, Tech Gifts, Luggage & Travel Goods, Figurines & Decorations, and this year's new additions, Licensed Gifts and Hair Ornament ...

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Japanese Buddhist Temple Holds Techno Memorial Services - odditycentral (blog)
Posted on Friday February 10, 2017


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It is said people used to use the most advanced technologies available to them at the time in order to ornament temples with gold leaf and thus recreate this 'world of light.' What I want to do with this project is use lighting and contemporary ...

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7 Girls Show What Beauty Looks Like When It's Not Appropriated - TeenVogue.com
Posted on Thursday April 21, 2016


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7 Girls Show What Beauty Looks Like When It's Not Appropriated
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We asked seven real girls—with epic hair!—to weigh in. Here, in their own words, inspiring young women reclaim their beauty looks with an ode to the cultures they came from. Watch, learn, slay, and chime in on social using the hashtag #LoveYourHair.

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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