In the upcoming installment to the Tome Series, “Rahasya”, the miko Aki is shown in a flashback to her childhood being trained in the art of using tessen, a type of war fan.

In the real world…
A Japanese war fan is a fan designed for use in warfare. Several types of war fans were used by the samurai class of feudal Japan and each had a different look and purpose.

Tessen are one such variety. Tessen were folding fans with outer spokes made of heavy plates of iron which were designed to look like normal, harmless folding fans or solid clubs shaped to look like a closed fan. Samurai could take these to places where swords or other overt weapons were not allowed, and some swordsmanship schools included training in the use of the tessen as a weapon. The tessen was also used for fending off knives and darts, as a throwing weapon, and as an aid in swimming.

Tessenjutsu (lit. “iron fan technique”) is the martial art of the Japanese war fan (tessen). It is based on the use of the solid iron fan or the folding iron fan, which usually had eight or ten wood or iron ribs. The use of the war fan in combat is mentioned in early Japanese legends. For example, Yoshitsune, a hero of Japanese legend, is said to have defeated an opponent named Benkei by parrying the blows of his opponent’s spear with an iron fan. This use of the iron fan was taught him by a mythological creature, a tengu, who had also instructed him in the art of swordsmanship.

The practitioners of tessenjutsu could acquire a high level of skill. Some became so skilled, in fact, that they were able to defend themselves against an attacker wielding a sword, and even kill an opponent with a single blow. Like so many other Japanese arts of combat during this era, tessenjutsu reached a high level of sophistication. For example, a famous swordsman in the late 16th century, Ganryu, was able to defeat several enemies with an iron fan.

Apart from using it in duels against enemies armed with swords and spears, the skilled wielder could also use it to fence and fend off knives and poisoned darts thrown at him. Like a sword, the tessen could be dual-wielded to parry with one hand and attack with the other.

Tessenjutsu is still practiced by a few experts in Japan to this day.

~ Articles courtesy of wikipedia.com
~ Photo courtesy of pinterest.com Photographer unknown

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