1. What is Kendama?

Kendama is a hand-held game which is very popular in Japan and enjoyed by people of all ages. The modern Kendama has a wooden handle (ken) with three shallow dishes (sara) and a bluntly pointed tip (kensaki) which the player uses to catch a wooden ball (tama) using a variety of fun techniques (waza). Although a player holds the Kendama with his or her hand, it is a game that uses one’s whole body, mind, and spirit to perform a variety of fun and entertaining waza (techniques)while at the same time helping develop the player’s sense of balance and concentration.


2. Parts of the Kendama

The Kendama consists of a “ken” (handle), a “tama” (ball), and an “ito” (string) .


3. Waza (techniques) 技

There are many kinds of Kendama waza (techniques) ranging from the most basic technique “Ozara” to higher level waza such as “Uchu-Yuei.” With Ozara the player simply catches the tama (ball) on the ozara (big dish). However, with Uchu-Yuei the player uses the ken (handle) to swing the tama upward, then releases the kencausing the whole Kendama to spin upward into the air. While the tama and ken are still spinning midair, the player catches the tama with his or her hand, then, using the tama, catches the ken with the kensaki (tip) inserted in the ana (hole) of the tama.

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