Traditional cup and ball toys are popular throughout the world so you probably have your very own version in your home country, but “kendama” is the Japanese version of this classic game. Traditionally made of wood, the kendama itself is shaped a bit like a cross with a cup on each side of the “arms” and another on the base at the bottom plus a large spike at the top. The ball (tama) is attached to the central shaft (ken) with a string and the aim of the game is to catch it inside one of the cups or even manage to land it on the spike!
Don’t be fooled, kendama is a serious sport! Full scale kendama contests are popular in Japan and there’s even a British Kendama Association which hosts a number of kendama-related events not just in the UK but across Europe too, as well as the KendamaUSA organization in North America which promotes kendama all over the world.
If you feel you could get pretty good at kendama given the chance, there’s also the Kendama World Cup hosted by the Global Kendama Network (Gloken) in Hatsukaichi, Japan - so why not pick up a kendama and get practicing today?
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