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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

SALE! VERY RARE ANTIQUE JAPANESE BIRA BIRA SILVER KANZASHI 簪 HAIRPIN
Posted on Tuesday March 21, 2017

$89.95
End Date: Thursday Apr-20-2017 2:43:09 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $89.95
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Vintage JAPANESE GEISHA HANA KANZASHI Maiko TSUMAMI HAIR ORNAMENT @ 1980's
Posted on Sunday February 26, 2017

$39.99
End Date: Tuesday Mar-28-2017 12:49:05 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $39.99
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SALE!! RARE TYPE JAPANESE ANTIQUE BIRA BIRA SILVER KANZASHI 簪 (HAIRPIN) MEIGI
Posted on Tuesday March 21, 2017

$89.95
End Date: Thursday Apr-20-2017 2:44:13 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $89.95
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Japanese Handcraft Kimono Maiko Bira-Bira Tsumami Kanzashi Hair Clip/104
Posted on Wednesday October 29, 2014

$14.90
End Date: Sunday Apr-16-2017 9:47:02 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $14.90
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Japanese Handmade Gold-tone Folding "Sensu" Fan Kanzashi Wood Hair Stick
Posted on Friday October 23, 2015

$18.50
End Date: Saturday Apr-15-2017 17:12:47 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $18.50
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Japanese Kumi Hair Stick Kanzashi Gold-tone "Cho Cho" Butterfly Design Ornament
Posted on Friday September 11, 2015

$11.50
End Date: Monday Apr-3-2017 13:31:02 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $11.50
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BIRA KANZASHI Vintage Japanese Hair Pin w/Coral Beads Antique
Posted on Thursday March 02, 2017

$69.99
End Date: Saturday Apr-1-2017 11:56:34 PDT
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Vintage Japanese Kanzashi Hair Stick Decoration Floral Flowers Pastel Spring
Posted on Friday March 24, 2017

$19.12
End Date: Sunday Apr-23-2017 0:18:54 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $19.12
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JAPANESE fashion KANZASHI HAIR CLAW CLIP REAL KIMONO ACRYLIC SAKURA RED
Posted on Tuesday March 21, 2017

$5.70 (0 Bids)
End Date: Tuesday Mar-28-2017 6:33:34 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $20.00
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Japanese Hand-made Maiko Geisha Tsumami Kanzashi Hair Ornament/Japan / 96
Posted on Tuesday February 08, 2011

$35.00
End Date: Friday Apr-7-2017 9:43:29 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $35.00
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Japanese Handcraft Silk Fabric Tsumami Kanzashi Gesha Hair Accessory/Prong 79
Posted on Wednesday October 29, 2014

$19.95
End Date: Sunday Apr-16-2017 9:53:08 PDT
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Japanese Kanzashi Hair Stick w/ Black Tassel &Tensha Bead Design Hair Accessory
Posted on Monday February 27, 2017

$17.50
End Date: Wednesday Mar-29-2017 21:19:18 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $17.50
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GAISHA's Antique "Kanzashi" Head w/Ume & SAMURAI's R680
Posted on Thursday October 14, 2010

$48.00
End Date: Monday Apr-10-2017 5:41:52 PDT
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FREE SHIPPING! Antiques Kushi Inro Kanzashi Kimono Samurai Accessory Tool Book
Posted on Wednesday January 28, 2015

$38.00
End Date: Monday Apr-17-2017 2:35:37 PDT
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For just about as long as the human race has had hair, we've been coming up with accessories to adorn it with. The history of hair accessories spans a diverse range of styles on both women and men, from bobby pins to brightly colored beads and ...



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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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