Taiken Japan

Autumn Leaves 2016

Fabulous Hair Ornaments, Kanzashi

Photo: Ryo [ addme. ] on Flickr

Fabulous Hair Ornaments, Kanzashi

Sanny Soedjatmiko Hartanto

When you see Japanese women wearing kimono, aside from the kimono itself, their hair accessories are amazingly stealing your attention in a good way. However they move, the hair accessories will look so elegant and expensive. It needs special skills to make one of those. Only a few people are considered as the kanzashi artists. People will recognize it as hairpins. Those accessories are called Kanzashi. Kanzashi is a traditional hair ornament. It came with so many different types.

Bira Bira Kanzashi

The most common one is called the ‘Bira Bira Kanzashi’. This type is the general hairpin with dangling accessories. Other than pretty, it gives an epic and elegant effect to your look. When it moves, it will create some pretty clinking sound. Sometimes it has bells attached as an additional accessory. Nowadays you will still see similar hairpin but way more simple.

Tama Kanzashi


Photo: Laura Tomàs Avellana on Flickr

Other unique kanzashi is the ‘Tama Kanzashi’. The word “tama” means, “ball” in Japanese. It has a ball shape ornament on it. It looks cute and not overwhelming. That is why it is usually combined with the more decorative ones. Traditionally there are 2 colors of tama kanzashi, they are red and green. Red ones are worn on October to May; the green ones are worn on June to September. It’s pretty refreshing to see there are some hairpins with only a ‘ball’ on it. Nowadays, it comes with different designs or maybe carvings on the ball.



Photo: amaebi79 on Flickr

Last but not least, the Kushi. Kushi is a part of Kanzashi even though Kushi means hair comb in Japanese, but in general kushi is used for complimenting kanzashi too. So they are like siblings to each other. It is usually made from wood. It has some carvings or ornaments on the top part of it. Usually the top part is made wider in order to create more design on it.

The Others

There are the other Kanzashi shapes, such as:

  1. Ogi, is also called as Princess style, which is made from metal.

  2. Tachibana is made with two silver pins.

  3. Hirauchi, an ornament with a flat rounded decoration.

  4. Bonten, round silver ornament with a pink touch.

  5. Kanoko, birght colored fabric tube.

  6. Miokuri, metal strips shaped ornament.

  7. Maezashi, an ornament worn over Bira-bira.

  8. Chirimen tegarami, a triangular fabric node.

At Last


Photo: Laura Tomàs Avellana on Flickr

These hair ornaments are not only accessories. It is multifunctional since they are also used as a defense. How is it considered as a defense object? If you are familiar with hairpins, one end of the hairpins is pretty sharp so if you’re in a dangerous situation you can stab someone with it. It’s scary since it’s so beautiful but it is actually pretty deadly. Something gorgeous sometimes can be dangerous if you are not careful enough, though. Anyway, let’s not forget the real reason of these hair ornaments above are to make your hair looks marvelous and elegant. Everything has their good and bad sides too.