The rudimentary fan first made a ‘cool’ appearance during the Jimmu and Akihito eras. Way back then, the fans were designed with paper or feathers and the thin material was mounted on slats. Today, the only difference is the preference for paper that is elaborately painted and folded. The basic design continues to be the paper-pivot attachment, a mechanism that allows the artist to fold and open the fan at the slightest maneuver of the wrist. The Japanese fans symbolize friendship and respect. They are exchanged even today, on special occasions, as ambassadors of good will.
Today, Japanese fans are symbolic of friendship or loyalty, and are no longer considered to represent social significance. Traditional Japanese fans are even exchanged as signs of good will. The fan symbolizes good wishes, respect and friendship. An ancient Japanese belief is that the handle of the fan denotes the beginning of life and ribs signify the roads of life going out in all directions. Fan dancing forms a key part of representations of Japan in Western popular culture and is depicted in many forms of culture like films and books.