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Let’s Play Kendama!

Traditional Japanese Games
March 10, 2018

What is a kendama?

Kendama (けん玉, “sword [and] ball”), a Japanese variant of a “cup and ball” toy, is enjoyed by people of all ages in Japan. The toy consists of two parts connected by a string: a handle with three shallow dishes and a spike; and a relatively large ball with a hole. The aim of the game is simple: swing the ball and catch it on one of the dishes or the spike on the handle. It can also be played the other way around. Thanks to its simple rules and affordability, anyone in Japan would have played this game in childhood but it can also be an intensive hobby to master complex tricks.

This workshop is recommended for children (age 6+) and adults who have little or no experience in playing kendama. You will love this traditional and appealing game if you like yo-yo or juggling activities that encourage you to perform tricks using hand and eye dexterity.

After watching a short introductory video of kendama, the instructor Akihiro Ide will demonstrate some arm and body control exercises to build up the foundations applicable to all kendama tricks. Following this will be some basic practice tricks such as ōzara (catching the ball on the large dish) and tomeken (catching the ball vertically on the spike). How far can you get?

Kendamas will be loaned to participants who do not have their own.

About Akihiro Ide

Akihiro Ide started learning how to play the kendama at aged 12 when a kendama master visited his school to promote the game to elementary school children. Initially, he had some difficulties maneuvering the kendama well but he decided to continue practicing because Akihiro was an aspiring volley ball player at the time. He believed that the body coordination skills used in kendama would also be beneficial to playing ball sports, an opinion also shared by the visiting master.

Akihiro hopes that everyone has fun while testing their skills at this game and experiencing a part of Japan’s hobby culture.


March 10, 2018 (Saturday)
Morning session: 11:00am-11:45am
Afternoon session: 1:30pm-2:15pm
Both sessions cover the same content.

The Japan Foundation, Sydney
Level 4, Central Park
28 Broadway
Chippendale NSW 2008

Free. Limited capacity; RSVPs essential.
Children aged 12 or younger must be accompanied at all times by an adult guardian. 

RSVP via Eventbrite

(02) 8239 0055

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