Sensu is a hand-held folding fan. The ribs are made of bamboo or sandalwood and covered with paper or silk. Since it is foldable, it is easy to carry.
When it is folded up, it looks like a stick. When it is opened, it expands large enough to fan oneself. The shape of sensu is considered auspicious because it broadens out towards the end. This shape is associated with spreading prosperity.
Sensu is used to fan oneself to keep cool like uchiwa. However, unlike uchiwa, it is used on formal occasions including tea ceremony. It is also an essential prop for rakugo performance and traditional Japanese dances such as noh and kabuki.