so what's this Kendama all about then?

Maple Ozora Kendama
What is Kendama?
How do you play?
What are the parts called?
Tournaments & Competitions


16th Century Bilboquet

Popular variants were played by the likes of King Henry the third during the 16th Century.
Then it was called a Bilboquet.
Though the toy soon fell out of fashion after his death.
During the 1900's It also found a home in Spanish and Portuguese regions. In these areas it became known as a Balero or boliche.
The version of our popular Kendama shape wasn't inherent until after travelling from the west to Japan via the silk road.
During its infancy, Kendama was also used by Japanese adults as a traditional drinking game! If a player made a mistake, they were made to drink!


The concept of Kendama has been independently created in several pockets all over the globe.
The earliest instance is believed
to have existed over 2,500 years ago in Greenland.
Ajagak's (Aj' uh-gahk) as pictured above, were played by Inuit children residing in the Arctic.
A spiked bone would be tethered to a skull, or larger piece of seal bone by a length of sinew.
They would hold the spike, swing the seal bone and try to catch it on the spike.

Popular Culture

JKA Certified Ozora Kendamas

Jitsugetsu ball as it was called then, was introduced as
an educational toy in a report
on children's academics
In the mid 1870s.
The game gradually became popular over time and in August
of 1918, Hamaji Egusa created
a Kendama much like its current form. Then in 1920 the shape was slightly altered, a patent awarded and Kendama as we know it
was born.
A monument also sits in Hatsukaichi City to commemorate its birthplace. later In 1975 Fujiwara Issei founded the Japanese Kendama Association. The JKA standardized Kendama for competitive use and created
a level field to accurately  benchmark a players skill. During the 2000s, Kendama's popularity surged outside Japan.
Then in 2006 Kendama USA and the British Kendama Association (BKA) were also founded.


Kendama world Cup 2017 Day 1
Kendama World Cup
Catch & Flow
Minnesota Kendama Open
British Kendama Open