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Motif Information
Motif gunhai 01.jpg
Rōmaji Gunhai
English War Fan
Kanji 軍配
Kana ぐんはい
Season All-season
Seasonal Exceptions none
Auspicious Yes
Motif Type Auspicious

Gunhai (war fan) (also gunhai-uchiwa) are one of the takarazukushi. The word is composed of the kanji 軍 (gun; army, battle) and 配 (hai; distribution).

Seasonal Use, Exceptions & Pairings

Gunhai are an auspicious design and are therefore non-seasonal. However, they are often featured on kimono that are to be worn in times in which one would want good luck, such as weddings, children's kimono for Omiyamairi and Shichi-go-san, and new years. Due to their use in history, they are a masculine motif.

Motif Connotations & Symbolism

A gunhai is a fan that was used by military leaders to direct troops and set up camp and also by referees of sumo matches to declare the start of the match, as well as the winner at its conclusion. In another sense, the word means "tactics" or "stratagem."

Gunhai are also associated with Shōriken, one of the eight Taoist hermits, who used it to resurrect the dead.

Auspicious Nature

As an auspicious motif, gunhai are worn in hopes that the wearer will hold authority and have strength.

Common Motif Pairings

Identification & Style Variations

Gunhai are depicted as flat fans that have one long spoke by which it is held, the upper half of which has paper on both sides creating the fan. Gunhai would have been made using paper, or sometimes out of other materials like metal.

Motif Examples

Motif in Literature & Other Usage

In art, military generals and leaders are often depicted holding gunhai, showing their authority.

In Poetry

Article Notes

Relevant Threads / Discussions

  • Link to any relevant threads on IG


Image Credits

  • Please credit any image used with the exception of images from Immortal Geisha or Moonblossom's photo gallery or anyone else who stated they don't need crediting.

Authors & Contributors

Author/s: Evan Mason (hikari_evyon (IG Username))