The Gunbai (Samurai War Fan) was an instrument used by Daimyo, Samurai Taisho (generals) and Gashira (officers); worn to show rank and used to command their samurai and ashigaru troops on and off the battlefield. Carried by the samurai or worn on the armor, the gunbai would represent the rank of the samurai as an officer and his right to lead troops. The Gunbai were typically family heirlooms, passed from father to son in succession. These Gunbai were unique, over the Saihai, and were made from solid wood or layered iron and wood, or even solid iron. The iron gunbai especially, could be used as a defensive weapon as well, to protect against surprise attacks, swords and arrows.
History: The history of the Gunbai is unclear but is believed to have come into service during the Kamakura Rule of the Minamoto-Hojo, between 1192 and 1333 A.D. It is known that Uesugi Kenshin wielded a gunbai at the Battle of Kawanakahima in 1563 A.D. The gunbai became more popular during the mid 16th century. It was also believed that the gunbai may have had superstitious powers, giving protection and the right to lead as a tribal chief to anyone wielding it.
- 37 cm in length.
- Crafted from wood with option of adding a samurai clan Mon (symbol) or your own logo.
Our skilled katchû-shi (armorers) at the Iron Mountain Armory will need at least 1 to 2 weeks, depending on options selected, for the custom handcrafting of this item.
Please Note: Please note the Mon are hand painted and may have some blemish. If you request Custom Mon, please reply to your order confirmation with the mon or logo attached to your e-mail. Please note we can only print one color “Clip Art” type of logo. Selecting “No Mon” will mean that no mon will be painted on your fan.
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References: Secrets of the Samurai: The Martial Arts of Feudal Japan – By Oscar Ratti, Adele Westbrook