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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 Handmade Gold-tone "Sensu" Fan Kanzashi Wood Stick Hair Accessories
Posted on Friday October 23, 2015

$12.50
End Date: Monday May-15-2017 20:39:35 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $12.50
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VERY RARE TYPE JAPANESE ANTIQUE BIRA BIRA SILVER KANZASHI 簪 (HAIRPIN) MEIGI
Posted on Sunday April 09, 2017

$89.95
End Date: Tuesday May-9-2017 17:15:40 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $89.95
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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: Tuesday May-16-2017 9:53:08 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $19.95
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Vintage Japanese Hokoseko Set Kanzashi Hair Stick Ornamental Purse Red Brocade
Posted on Sunday April 23, 2017

$44.99
End Date: Tuesday May-23-2017 4:40:26 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $44.99
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Japanese Handmade silver-tone "Sensu" Fan Kanzashi Wood Stick Hair Accessories
Posted on Wednesday March 01, 2017

$13.95
End Date: Sunday Apr-30-2017 22:29:35 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $13.95
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Brass Kanzashi / Hair Pin / Japanese / Antique
Posted on Tuesday April 18, 2017

$12.00 (13 Bids)
End Date: Tuesday Apr-25-2017 20:00:05 PDT
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Japanese Geisha Hand Made Tsumami Kanzashi Pink Flower Hair Ornament/ Pink/ 095
Posted on Thursday December 17, 2015

$35.50
End Date: Wednesday May-10-2017 10:52:17 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $35.50
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Japanese Hair Ornament Kanzashi Red Ball Stick Golden Chrysanthemum Flower
Posted on Sunday April 02, 2017

$23.50
End Date: Tuesday May-2-2017 21:23:29 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $23.50
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Japanese Hair Ornament Kanzashi Pink Silk Flowers Silver Links Prongs Style
Posted on Sunday April 02, 2017

$16.50
End Date: Tuesday May-2-2017 21:25:19 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $16.50
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3 Vintage Japanese Geisha Hair Stick Kanzashi Hairpins
Posted on Tuesday April 04, 2017

$25.00
End Date: Thursday May-4-2017 13:23:33 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $25.00
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Japanese Kanzashi Hair Stick w/ Red Tassel & Bead Design KUMI Hair Accessory
Posted on Friday April 14, 2017

$15.50
End Date: Sunday May-14-2017 19:42:08 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $15.50
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Vintage Japanese Kogai Kanzashi Hair Pin / Hair Ornament Set
Posted on Tuesday April 18, 2017

$45.00
End Date: Thursday May-18-2017 12:02:51 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $45.00
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GAISHA's Antique "Kanzashi" Head w/Ume & SAMURAI's R680
Posted on Thursday October 14, 2010

$48.00
End Date: Wednesday May-10-2017 5:41:52 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $48.00
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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: Wednesday May-17-2017 2:35:37 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $38.00
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News About Japanese Hair Ornaments

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Cardcaptor Sakura summer kimono lets you keep enjoying Sakura after the end of spring - RocketNews24
Posted on Saturday April 15, 2017


RocketNews24

Cardcaptor Sakura summer kimono lets you keep enjoying Sakura after the end of spring
RocketNews24
Anime fashion label Super Groupies, which just unveiled its Cardcaptor Sakura purses and previously created a hair dryer inspired by the iconic magical girl franchise, is offering not just a yukata, but also an obidome, an ornament that attaches to the ...

and more »

Geisha Culture in Kyoto, Japan: An Inside Look - Vogue.com
Posted on Tuesday March 21, 2017


Vogue.com

Geisha Culture in Kyoto, Japan: An Inside Look
Vogue.com
Her impressively symmetrical hair, which is done every week and takes about two hours to do, is adorned with a number of pins and an elaborate floral ornament known as hana kanzashi (another sign of her first year in training), while the back of her ...

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


RocketNews24

Transform your hairdo in the name of the moon with these Sailor Moon kanzashi!
RocketNews24
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


Bustle

The History Of Hair Accessories, Summed Up With The 7 Most Important Moments
Bustle
From ancient Roman times where elongated pins were often doubled as containers for perfume or poison to 17th century Japan where kanzashi pins were worn by fashionable ladies, hairpins have served as a way to keep hair tidy and as social status ...

Japanese kimono gets a modern makeover - Prothom Alo (English)
Posted on Sunday June 19, 2016


Prothom Alo (English)

Japanese kimono gets a modern makeover
Prothom Alo (English)
... prompted Park to come up with contemporary designs that could be worn in daily life, leaving aside what constitutes the paraphernalia accompanying the kimono, even the simplest version of which includes two types of undergarments and a hair ornament.

and more »

Frozen at sea: all aboard the Disney Wonder for family fun - mySanAntonio.com
Posted on Friday December 09, 2016


mySanAntonio.com

Frozen at sea: all aboard the Disney Wonder for family fun
mySanAntonio.com
I was in awe of Michael Curry's dynamic Japanese puppetry, which is similar to his sophisticated puppets from the Broadway production of “The Lion King.” With this technique, the large puppet is held in front of the actor, with its feet connected to ...

LIZ SMITH: Patti LuPone - A Christmas Ornament for all seasons - Mountain View Journal
Posted on Sunday December 11, 2016


Mountain View Journal

LIZ SMITH: Patti LuPone - A Christmas Ornament for all seasons
Mountain View Journal
In "The Cobweb" as a hyper-emotional, sexually dissatisfied, almost-unfaithful wife and mother, Grahame performs miracles with even the worse dialogue. Better, with no dialogue. This woman could act with her hair, which seemed to have an erotic life of ...

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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