The Brief History of The Kendama
Kendama came from Japan in the early 20th century – evolving from centuries of cup-and-ball tradition, and especially the French Bilboquet.
In 1975 the Japanese Kendama Association was formed with the aim of spreading kendama’s popularity, and making it playable as a sport, as well as just for fun. They created a grading system with 10 “kyu” (beginner) grades, and 6 “dan” (master) grades, which players can work through by scoring consistently at a set range of tricks, which get harder as you progress through the grades. Currently, there are approximately 30-40 6th Dan players – all Japanese. If you want to challenge yourself, why not see if you can make your way through the official Kendama Grading Trick Tables.
In the early 21st century, with the advent of the internet, kendama tricks and culture began to spread to the Western world, and now players from all over the globe are putting their own spin and freestyle ideas on exactly what “kendama” is, or can be. Sharing tricks on social media, posting “grain” photos, showing off longer edited videos of your skills, and joining in online chat and competitions: Join in, and share the fun of the ever-evolving journey!