The Japanese Folding hand fans (扇子, sensu) can be freely opened. In ancient Japan, hand fans, such as oval and silk fans was influenced greatly by the Chinese fans. The earliest visual depiction of fans in Japan dates back to the 6th century CE, with burial tomb paintings showed drawings of fans. The folding fan was invented in Japan, with date ranging from the 6th to 9th centuries. It was a court fan called the Akomeogi after the court women's dress named Akome. According to the Song Sui (History of Song), a Japanese monk Chonen (938-1016) offered the folding fans (twenty wooden-bladed fans hiogi and two paper fans kawahori-ogi to the emperor of China in 988. Later in the 11th century, Korean envoys brought along Korean folding fans which were of Japanese origin as gifts to Chinese court. The popularity of folding fans was such that sumptuary laws were promulgated during Heian period which restricted the decoration of both hiogi and paper folding fans. They were made by tying thin stripes of hinoki (or Japanese cypress) together with thread. The number of strips of wood differed according to the person's rank. Later in the 16th century, Portuguese traders introduced it to the west and soon both men and women throughout the continent adopted it. They are used today by Shinto priests in formal costume and in the formal costume of the Japanese court (they can be seen used by the Emperor and Empress during coronation and marriage) and are brightly painted with long tassels. Simple Japanese paper fans are sometimes known as harisen. Printed fan leaves and painted fans are done on a paper ground. The paper was originally handmade and displayed the characteristic watermarks. Machine-made paper fans, introduced in the 19th century, are smoother, with an even texture. Even today, Geisha of all types (but maiko most often) use folding fans in their fan dances as well. Japanese fans are made of paper on a bamboo frame, usually with a design painted on them. In addition to folding fans, the non-bending fans (uchiwa) are popular and commonplace. The fan is primarily used for fanning oneself in hot weather. It was also used in the military as a way of sending signals on the field of battle, however fans were mainly used for social and court activities. In Japan, fans were variously used by warriors as a form of weapon, by actors and dancers for performances, and by children as a toy. See Hand Fan. Wikipedia. Retrieved 2015-04-02.