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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 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
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Japan Kimono Kanzashi Coral-Colored Bead Hair Pin Accessory Japanese
Posted on Tuesday August 15, 2017

$39.99
End Date: Thursday Sep-14-2017 15:12:54 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $39.99
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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
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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: Saturday Sep-16-2017 13:01:40 PDT
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Japanese Kanzashi Hair Stick, Blue Tensha Bead w/ Dangle Design Hair Accessory
Posted on Monday July 10, 2017

$17.50
End Date: Friday Sep-8-2017 8:44:38 PDT
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Handmade Tsumami FUJI Wistaria Design Maiko Kanzashi/98
Posted on Wednesday September 22, 2010

$36.95
End Date: Friday Sep-15-2017 14:46:22 PDT
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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
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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: Tuesday Sep-12-2017 20:39:35 PDT
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EXQUISITE Handmade JAPANESE KANZASHI HAIRPIN STICK COMB KIMONO Sakura Cherry
Posted on Saturday August 05, 2017

$84.30
End Date: Monday Sep-4-2017 4:44:06 PDT
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NEW! Japanese Hair Pin KANZASHI SAKURA Sword Stick Sengoku Kimono from Japan
Posted on Sunday July 30, 2017

$64.80
End Date: Tuesday Aug-29-2017 2:07:33 PDT
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Hair Stick Pink and Green Color Glass Beads Handmade Asian Japanese Kanzashi Red
Posted on Wednesday August 16, 2017

$28.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Wednesday Aug-23-2017 10:49:52 PDT
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Japanese Hair Stick Kanzashi Acrylic Beads w/Rhinestone Dangle Design Ornament
Posted on Sunday October 30, 2016

$12.95
End Date: Saturday Aug-26-2017 10:36:05 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: Thursday Sep-7-2017 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

$35.00
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News About Japanese Hair Ornaments

samuri weapons

T's Women's Fashion Issue: Editor's Letter - New York Times
Posted on Friday August 18, 2017


New York Times

T's Women's Fashion Issue: Editor's Letter
New York Times
Every person in every culture, no matter how impoverished or restrictive, tries to ornament her life. ... Beauty might be something ephemeral, made more potent for the brevity of its life, like a fragile Japanese confection. ... like fashion designer ...

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


Vogue.com

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 ...

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 ...

Hair, glorious hair - Isthmus
Posted on Thursday May 04, 2017


Isthmus

Hair, glorious hair
Isthmus
It's 40 minutes to call time, when the models will line up for the Hair Affair catwalk. Backstage buzzes with activity — and reeks of hairspray. Long tables are laden with containers of makeup and bottles of product. Bobby pins litter the floor, and ...

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 ...

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


eTurboNews

4300+ exhibitors: World's largest Gifts & Premium Fair opens in Hong Kong
eTurboNews
... Luggage & Travel Goods, Figurines & Decorations, and this year's new additions, Licensed Gifts and Hair Ornament & Accessories. There are also group pavilions set up by different countries and regions, including the Chinese mainland, India, Italy ...

and more »

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


TeenVogue.com

7 Girls Show What Beauty Looks Like When It's Not Appropriated
TeenVogue.com
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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