Kendama is a wooden toy with origins in Japan dating back to the 1700s. In the 1800s it had been adopted as a children’s toy, and today is popular with both young and old, both in Japan and the rest of the world. Kendama has history in a number of countries outside of Japan also such as the Arctic, France, Peru, North America and Europe. This game was also popular in England during the early 19th century, as Jane Austen is reputed to have excelled while entertaining her brother’s son in a game called bilbocatch.
KEN has a few translations, one of which is ‘sword’ and TAMA (in combination becomes DAMA) means ‘ball’. The challenge is to catch (or rather the balance) the ball on various parts of the kendama.
Traditionally Kendama consist of a wooden stick with a red or colourfully striped ball. Recent kendama are even more colourful and fun and may even have a favourite character on them. To get your own kendama, check out the JJ Kendama page for ordering details.
Here is the official website of the Japan Kendama Association. Take a look to see some great information about kendama, as well as Kendama gradings. WOW
The Professional Team in the US, take Kendama to a totally new level with amazing tricks, then to top it all off, make the tricks look easy ! Take a look at their skills.
This video not only showcases some of the wonderful sights of Japan, but also some amazing Kendama tricks and skill.
Here is another great clip, Kendama USA Japan Tour 2012
Here is the footage from USA Dama Fest 2013. Again, some mind-blowing Kendama skills and new tricks galore