What Is a Kendama?

What Is a Kendama?

A Kendama is a toy of Japanese origin that involves feats of balance and dexterity. It contains three sections: the ken, the tama and the sarado, with "ken" meaning "sword," "tama" meaning "ball" and "sarado" meaning "crosspiece." It has three cups and a spike with which to catch the ball.

Using a Kendama properly requires coordinated upper and lower body movements. Tricks include balancing and juggling the ball and the sword and catching the ball in the cups. The Kendama is similar to classic cup-and-ball games from other cultures. The contemporary version has been influenced by the arts of dance, diabolo, yo-yo and traditional juggling.