How to Say Hand Fan in Japanese

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on how to say “hand fan” in Japanese. In this article, we will cover the formal and informal ways to express this term, focusing on standard variations rather than regional dialects. We will provide various tips, examples, and relevant information to help you better understand and use this phrase in different contexts. So, let’s dive in!

Formal Ways to Say Hand Fan in Japanese

When it comes to formal language, there are a few expressions you can use to refer to a hand fan. These phrases are typically utilized in official or polite situations:

扇子 (SEN-SU)
Literally meaning “folding fan,” this term is the most commonly used formal expression for a hand fan. It refers to the typical folding fans that are commonly seen in Japan.

うちわ (U-CHI-WA)
This is another formal term for a hand fan in Japanese. Uchiwa refers to the non-folding fans, similar to the ones commonly used to cool oneself during traditional Japanese events like festivals or performances.

When using these formal expressions, remember to pair them with appropriate honorific language, such as “お” or “ご” before the term. For example, “お扇子 (O-SEN-SU)” and “ごうちわ (GO-U-CHI-WA)”. Using honorifics adds politeness and respect to your speech.

Informal Ways to Say Hand Fan in Japanese

If you’re in a casual setting or talking to friends, you can use more relaxed expressions to refer to a hand fan. These informal terms are commonly used in everyday conversations:

扇 (O-GI)
This is a shortened form of “扇子 (SEN-SU)” used informally to say “hand fan.” It’s common in casual conversations or when referring to a hand fan without emphasizing formality.

うちわ (U-CHI-WA)
Just like in the formal context, “うちわ” (Uchiwa) is also used as an informal term for a hand fan. Whether in formal or informal situations, “うちわ” refers to both folding and non-folding fans.

When using these informal expressions, you don’t need to worry about honorific language since it’s not required in casual conversations among friends or peers.

Tips for Using Hand Fan Phrases

Here are a few tips to help you use the different hand fan phrases effectively:

  • When addressing someone important or expressing politeness, it’s generally better to use the formal expressions along with appropriate honorifics.
  • In casual situations, you can opt for the shorter and more relaxed versions of the phrase.
  • If you’re uncertain, it’s safer to use the general terms like “扇” (O-GI) or “うちわ” (Uchiwa) without specifying the formality.


Let’s take a look at some examples to see how these phrases are used in context:

(Tanaka-san wa utsukushii o-sensu o motteimasu.)
Mr. Tanaka has a beautiful folding fan.

(Kyō wa atsui ne! Uchiwa kashite kurenai?)
It’s hot today! Can you lend me a hand fan?

Feel free to adapt these examples to fit your specific needs and circumstances. Remember, context is crucial in choosing the appropriate phrase.

Wrapping Up

That concludes our guide on how to say “hand fan” in Japanese. We’ve covered both formal and informal expressions, providing you with various tips, examples, and contextual information. Whether you’re in a professional setting or a casual conversation, you now have the necessary knowledge to refer to a hand fan accurately. Practice using these phrases, and it won’t take long for you to feel comfortable in any Japanese-speaking environment. Enjoy embracing the rich culture of Japan with your newfound language skills!

Written by Walter Lachlan

Hello there! I am Walter, an extreme enthusiast of the Japanese language and culture! I spend my time immersing in the art of teaching the intricacies of the Japanese language to non-native speakers on my blog. Besides my linguistic journey, I indulge in a bit of dancing and have an unusual love for identifying the Japanese names of different animals - yes, "Hippopotamus" in Japanese too! Looking forward to continue my nihon no tabi (日本の旅), or journey of Japan, with you. Let's continue to unravel the tapestry of language together!

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