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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 silver-tone "Sensu" Fan Kanzashi Wood Stick Hair Accessories
Posted on Wednesday March 01, 2017

$13.95
End Date: Friday Oct-27-2017 22:29:35 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $13.95
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JAPANESE VINTAGE SIGNED BOXWOOD KANZASHI KUSHI COMB HAIR PIECE
Posted on Thursday October 19, 2017

$0.99 (0 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Oct-29-2017 18:13:51 PDT
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Pair Vintage Japanese Geisha Kanzashi Floral Bronze Hair Pins
Posted on Monday October 23, 2017

$10.00
End Date: Wednesday Nov-22-2017 2:32:51 PST
Buy It Now for only: $10.00
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Handmade Cute Traditional Japanese Hair Clip Red Pink Kanzashi Sakura Flower
Posted on Friday October 13, 2017

$8.99
End Date: Sunday Nov-12-2017 9:07:57 PST
Buy It Now for only: $8.99
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Antique Sensu Style Kanzashi Japanese Hair Accessories Gold Pin Kimono Set of 2
Posted on Saturday October 21, 2017

$14.99 (0 Bids)
End Date: Saturday Oct-28-2017 9:36:31 PDT
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Handmade Cute Traditional Japanese Hair Clip Pink Pin Kanzashi Sakura Flower
Posted on Tuesday June 13, 2017

$9.99
End Date: Friday Nov-10-2017 12:35:52 PST
Buy It Now for only: $9.99
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Rare! JAPANESE VINTAGE EDO ERA KANZASHI HAIR ornaments BEKKO makie
Posted on Sunday October 15, 2017

$25.00
End Date: Tuesday Nov-14-2017 6:09:18 PST
Buy It Now for only: $25.00
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Japanese Sakuran Anna Mini Kanzashi Hairpin Tassels Kimono Geisha Hair Accessory
Posted on Thursday September 21, 2017

$8.36
End Date: Monday Nov-20-2017 10:02:54 PST
Buy It Now for only: $8.36
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Pair Antique Japanese Geisha Kanzashi Floral Gold Bronze Filigree Hair Pins
Posted on Friday October 20, 2017

$10.50 (3 Bids)
End Date: Monday Oct-30-2017 12:34:30 PDT
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Japanese Handmade Geisha Sakura Pattern Kimono Kanzashi Hairpin Ornament
Posted on Friday January 09, 2015

$14.50
End Date: Wednesday Oct-25-2017 20:42:37 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $14.50
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Sakuran Anna Mini Kanzashi Hairpin Japanese Fan Tassels for Kimono Geisha Sa
Posted on Tuesday May 23, 2017

$9.98
End Date: Saturday Nov-18-2017 18:01:16 PST
Buy It Now for only: $9.98
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Sakura Tsumami zaiku kanzashi Hair pin for Kimono Accessory Japanese Flower Sa
Posted on Tuesday September 26, 2017

$19.99
End Date: Thursday Oct-26-2017 1:57:24 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: Monday Nov-6-2017 4:41:52 PST
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

$35.00
End Date: Monday Nov-13-2017 1:35:37 PST
Buy It Now for only: $35.00
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News About Japanese Hair Ornaments

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Dries Van Noten, Icon of Creative Freedom - New York Times
Posted on Monday October 16, 2017


New York Times

Dries Van Noten, Icon of Creative Freedom
New York Times
His hair is neat, parted to one side and scraped back from his forehead, but the effect — like that of his white button-down shirt — feels less severe than, somehow, touching; one can see in him the echoes of the good Catholic schoolboy he once was ...

An Inside Peek at Kyoto's Secretive Geisha Culture - Vogue.com
Posted on Tuesday March 21, 2017


An Inside Peek at Kyoto's Secretive Geisha Culture
Vogue.com
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 ...

Help These Poor Girls Catch a Break in "iDOLM@STER: Stella Stage" - Crunchyroll News
Posted on Friday September 22, 2017


Crunchyroll News

Help These Poor Girls Catch a Break in "iDOLM@STER: Stella Stage"
Crunchyroll News
Her name hasn't been announced, but eagle-eyed fans have noted that she has a hair ornament placed similarly to that of your ONE FOR ALL rival, Leon. Hard to tell whether that's ... THE iDOLM@STER STELLA STAGE goes on sale in Japan December 21.

Show Off Your Gintama Style With SuperGroupies! - Tokyo Otaku Mode, Inc.
Posted on Wednesday September 20, 2017


Tokyo Otaku Mode, Inc.

Show Off Your Gintama Style With SuperGroupies!
Tokyo Otaku Mode, Inc.
The Yorozuya version comes with a Gintoki charm with a scooter and strawberry milk, a Shimura Shinpachi charm with a happi coat and glasses, and a Kagura charm with a hair ornament and an umbrella. The Shinsengumi version includes a Kondo Isao ...

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


odditycentral (blog)

Japanese Buddhist Temple Holds Techno Memorial Services
odditycentral (blog)
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 ...

and more »

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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