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The folding fan was a Japanese innovation that first appeared as part of a depiction of a Japanese god of happiness. Between 900 and 960 B.C.E., the Chinese adopted it and spread the use of folding fans to Europe and the rest of Asia. Eventually, hand fans came to be important indicators of social status across the globe.The Japanese fan was also used in the military, as a way of sending signals on the field of battle. In the arts, Japanese hand fans were vital to the success of dance, the theatre and even in sumo wrestling, where the referee controls the contestants using a type of Japanese folding fan called "gumpai uchiwa", which means "military fan".