MAKING FANS IN OLD JAPAN -- The "Uchiwa" Girls Hard at Work
While the English language generally has one word for "Fan", the Japanese have two words. The Fans being made in the above image are called UCHIWA -- stiff and unfolding, with a handle to grip while fanning yourself. The other type is called SENSU. This is the folding, or collapsible type that opens and closes on a pin fixed at one end, usually to reveal a painted scene or decorative motif.
Both types are common "props" in many old photographs of Geisha in full dress. In everyday life today , I would say the UCHIWA style seen in the above photo is far more common. They are easier to mass produce, and are a common "hand-out" at stores and events --- one or both sides being having ADVERTISING rather than an artistic motif.
Here's ANOTHER SHOT of a Japanese UCHIWA MAKER : www.flickr.com/photos/24443965@N08/3285583158/
From a ca. 1905-20 hand-tinted glass lantern-slide by T. ENAMI of Yokohama. For more about Enami and his own Photographic labors in Japan see www.t-enami.org/