Samurai could take these to places where swords or other overt weapons were not allowed, and some swordsmanship schools included training in the use of the tessen as a weapon. The tessen was also used for fending off arrows and darts, as a throwing weapon, and as an aid in swimming.
A war fan is a fan designed for use in warfare. Several types of war fans were used by the samurai class of feudal Japan.
- Venus (1997 action figure) comes with a tessen (listed as a "Full-Swing Fan Shield"). As she had no standardized weapon in the series proper outside of magic devices, she is often associated with the tessen in popularity.
- The weapon is wielded by Hisomi-Shisho, one of the powerful Ninja Tribunal in 2003 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a large tessen.
- As of the events of "Baxter's Gambit", April O'Neil has become armed with a tessen a weapon that Splinter had one day hoped to give to his daughter, Miwa, who April reminds him of. April will now be focusing her fighting style around the real-life Japanese martial art of Tessenjutsu.