The land of the rising sun is a country especially for children. There are many festivals and games just for children. Kendama is a toy that has long been famous in Japan for both children and adults.
It has a simple structure at first glance but Kendama is a deep game with over 1,000 different techniques for players to try to master. It can be played anywhere and by anyone, both men and women, old and young. Games are said to be helpful in developing concentration and perseverance.
Kendama is made from a stick with a point at one end, three cups attached, and a ball with a small hole at one end. The cups on either side of the bar are called the large cup and the small cup. The ball is connected to the rods by a piece of about 40 cm (16 inches) of string. At the end of the bar is a point where the player can attempt to stab the ball. At the other end of the bar is a glass called a medium glass.
The game is played basically by tossing the ball and trying to catch it in one of the cups or to stab it with the point of the stick. Although it sounds simple, there are an almost unlimited number of specific techniques for doing so.
It is said that Japan is the country where the largest number of different types of Kendama are produced. There are many hand-crafted versions that have a local flavor, “baseball Kendama” made in the shape of a baseball bat, and “Horror Kendama” featuring a painted scary face. A digital version of Kendama made from transparent plastic and containing an IC chip was sold in 1998. The product was called Digi-ken.
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