Japan Data Archive

About Japan > Japanese Gifts > 

Kanzashi (Decorative Hairpins)

Kanzashi are decorative hairpins used by women when they put their hair up.
The main types are hirauchi, which are flat; tama, which have a bead affixed to one end; hana,which have floral decoration; mimikaki, with a small spoon-shaped appendage on the tip; and kawari, a term which covers hybrid designs.
The type used depends on the style of kimono worn.
Regarding shape, a single pin is called an ippon-zashi (one stick) kanzashi, a double pin is called a futamata (forked)kanzashi,and there are also fan-shaped and comb-shaped examples.
The easiest to use casually is a single pin with a bead attached.
The bead can be glass, agate, or other material; the material making it appear either cute or sophisticated.
Single- or double-pin kanzashi can be worn with Western clothing without appearing strange.
Kanzashi with crystal beads by Swarovski are popular among the younger generation.
A single-pin kanzashi can be used to hold the hair in place without the use of an elastic band, making it most useful.
The reason why kanzashi retain their popularity today is probably due to the waythat they add an accent to the hair, transforming a person's appearance from the rear.