Ken – What?

What is a “Kendama?”

A kendama is an incredibly fun skill toy that can be played solo to entertain or as a game for competition. The game itself is a variation of the traditional ball & cup game, the principle idea is to catch or balance one part of it on another part. The origins of the original ball & cup game are still disputed but the current kendama was created and patented by Issei Fujiwara, a renowned Japanese author, and has gone through very little changes. The modern kendama features such a unique design that an almost infinite amount of trick combinations can be made.

The image below shows a kendama and labels the different parts that make up a kendama.


Kendama Parts

    1. Main body – ken
    2. Spike – kensaki
    3. Big cup – ōzara
    4. Bottom cup – chūzara
    5. Small cup – kozara
    6. Ball – tama
    7. Hole – ana
    8. String – ito
    9. Cup body – saradō
    10. Small cup edge – kozara no fuchi
    11. Big cup for lunars – ōzara no fuchi
    12. Slip-stop – suberidome
    13. Back end – kenjiri
    14. String hole – ito ana
    15. Bead (not pictured)


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