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 If you didn’t hear, today is Kendama Day! Today, May 14, 2021, marks the 102nd anniversary of kendama. You might have known kendama was an old idea, but it really goes back! We celebrate Kendama Day on May 14 because on this day, 102 years ago, the patent for the prototype of modern day kendama, the “Sun & Moon Ball”, was first registered in Japan by Mr. Hamajie Egusa in Hiroshima Prefecture.

Kendama History - Patent - GLOKEN

Up until this point in Japan, Kendama had been played with a much simpler version of what we know today, resembling more of a stick with a sharp point and a ball with a hole attached with a string, but this new invention greatly expanded the way you could play it.

Tamotsu Kubota - GLOKEN - Headshot

Tamotsu Kubota, Founder of GLOKEN, wanted to make this holiday a reality, so in 2017 he applied to the Japan Anniversary Association with his proposal for the holiday. After careful examination, the Association approved the request and set in stone, Kendama Day!

Information sourced from: https://www.gloken.net/jp/blog/201702061701/

HOW TO CELEBRATE KENDAMA DAY

Learn A New Trick!

You can never go wrong with filming a kendama trick, posting it up for your friends to see, and wishing them a Happy Kendama Day! Let people know how special today is with a huge level up and motivate your friends to do the same!

Enjoy Japanese Culture

The Japan Anniversary Association’s goal in creating new holidays such as these is to spread awareness about Japanese culture. Take some time today to appreciate some Japanese cuisine, learn how to play Shogi (Japanese Chess), or watch an anime! Not only is today a wonderful thing for kendama, but it is also an incredible opportunity to broaden your worldview and learn more about a culture that may be foreign to you!

 

Learn Speed Trick B! 

So, what is Speed Trick B, you might be asking?

Well, it's a series of ten tricks, a speed ladder designed to test your proficiency and consistency in all the basic tricks you've learned up till now. The goal is to get all ten tricks landed in succession as quickly as possible. This is a challenge that kendama players have used for years to hone in the foundations and it's quite fun to see if you can shave off a few seconds from your previous record every once in a while, just so you can see how far you've come!

Here you can see an example of a really fast and almost flawless run, in just about 30 seconds!

These ten tricks (and their Japanese names) are :

  1. Candlestick (前ふりろうそく : mae furi rōusoku)
    • Swing in to complete the trick.
  • Around the Prefecture (県一周 : ken-isshū)
    • (Base cup, spike)
  • Around Japan x2 (日本一周 : nihon-isshū)
    • After spiking the first time, continue into second time without reset or touching the ball.
  • Around the World x2 (世界一周 : sekai-isshū)
    • After spiking the first time, continue into second time without reset or touching the ball.
  • Around Europe (ヨーロッパ一周 : yoroppa-isshū)
    • It is possible to start with big cup, but the JKA prefers small cup first.
  • Earth Turn (地球まわし : chikyū mawashi)
    • (Swing-in spike, earth turn.)
  • Bird, in (うぐいす~けん : uguisu ~ ken)
    • (Begin from pull-up Bird.)
    • It is not required to stay still after this trick.
    • After the tama hole has contacted the edge/rim of the big cup correctly, spike it right away.
  • Jumping Stick (はねけん : haneken)
    • (Begin from airplane.)
  • 1-turn Airplane (一回転飛行機 : ikkaiten hikōki)
  • Falling in (さか落とし : sa ka otoshi)
    • (Begin from pull-up Lighthouse.)
    • If the Lighthouse is in proper contact with the tama, it is not required to stay still for this trick.

(For Speed Trick B, all tricks require a tama/ken reset.)

Make a DIY Kendama!

If you have young children, today can be the perfect opportunity for a little DIY construction project! With some light supervision and help, you can make your very own kendama out of items you have around the house! This is perfect if you have very small children who may not be able to handle the weight and size of a regular kendama, and since it's DIY, they can do whatever they want to make the DIY kendama suit their style. Once it's put together, you can deck it out with some drawings, put stickers on it, or even paint it. Your imagination is the only limit!

Watch Historic Kendama Content Online

Whether you're a player with years under your belt that could really use some nostalgia, or if you're a brand new player with not much knowledge about where kendama has come from, today is the perfect opportunity to check out all of the different kendama content available out there and celebrate how far kendama has come! 

 

We hope you have an absolutely incredible Kendama Day! Celebrate every level up, Spread Kendama Love, and have fun!