“About | Sweets Kendamas.” About | Sweets Kendamas. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Oct. 2015. <;.

Creation of Sweets Kendamas

Sweets Kendamas was founded by Matt “Sweets” Jorgenson in Minnesota in August of 2010 in an effort to make kendamas more available in the United States. This passion has since been concentrated on creating “the most durable, playable, and aesthetically pleasing” kendamas on the market. Sweets is one of the first kendama companies in America, and they are the only American company to design and paint their own kendamas. My documentary emphasizes “Spreading Kendama Love,” the motto of the Sweets Team. Sweets Kendamas will be the center focus of this project, therefore this source is entirely relevant, for it provides an explanation for the founding of the company.

Bonz Atron POV Kendama 1. Dir. Bonz Atron. Perf. Bonz Atron. Bonzai Kendama, 2015. YouTube Video.

Shot Inspiration

Bonz Atron founded his own brand of kendamas in 2015 called Bonzai Kendama. In this YouTube video, the 2014 Kendama World Cup champion Bonz Atron performs several tricks using a Go Pro camera. The tricks are certainly of a caliber that is entirely unattainable at this stage in my kendama career, but the filming techniques are intriguing, and will possibly be integrated into my documentary. Other filming techniques will be used, but the idea of filming kendama tricks with a Go Pro is a thought that had not occurred to me previously.

“HISTORY | GLOKEN 英語.” GLOKEN 英語. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Oct. 2015. <;.

Evolution of Design

After the introduction of the French “biboquet,” kendama has steadily progressed in Japan. The “Sun and Moon Ball,” or Nichi Getsu, was invented by Hamatsugu Ekusa in 1919. This simple children’s ball and cup design has evolved over hundreds of models. Now, as declared by the Japanese Kendama Association (JKA) there are a handful of manufactures that have been deemed competition certified. This information, directly from Global Kendamas Network, has proved to show the development of kendama designs from a primitive toy to an international sport.

Ito, Masami. “Kendama: A Whole New Ball Game | The Japan Times.” Japan Times RSS. The Japan Times, 8 Nov. 2014. Web. 12 Oct. 2015. <;.

Kendama in the United States

“I like that kendama can open your mind to new ways of thinking,” says Colin Sander, a kendama professional that helped spread the game through America. Masami Ito’s article from the Japan Times highlights the rapid spread of kendama through Europe and North America in 2006, mainly through other outlets such as skateboarding, juggling, and yo-yo. By the time kendama returned to Japan, it was hardly recognizable as the simple child’s ball and cup toy. This source has provided insight on how American kendama companies have impacted the design of kendamas, as well as the importance of the American style of play.

“Japanese “Kendama” Is Cool Now! | JAPAN Monthly Web Magazine.” Japan Monthly Web Magazine. Japan National Tourism Organization, Dec. 2014. Web. 12 Oct. 2015. <;.

Kendama World Cup

The first Kendama World Cup was held in Hatsukaichi City, Hiroshima in July of 2014, the title going to American player Bonz Atron. The event hosted players from ten different countries. When not competing, the professionals held classes for intermediate players. The existence of the Kendama World Cup featured in this magazine article goes to show the international advances of kendama.

“Japan’s Traditional Ball & Cup Toy.” Kendama RSS. N.p., 2008. Web. 12 Oct. 2015. <;.

History of Kendama

This excerpt from highlights the uses and benefits of the traditional skill toy. Also, the variety and levels of tricks are described, as well as the several certified grips. Serious kendama is overseen by the Japanese Kendama Association, founded my Issei Fujiwara in 1975. This source was insightful because it showed the sheer creativity that kendama has produced, as well as the variety of its benefits.

“Virtual Culture.” History. Kids Web Japan, n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2015. <;.

Origins and Parts of the Kendama

Kendama is said to have originated in France in the 1600s, and it was brought to Japan via the Silk Road between 1777 and 1778 (during the Edo period).  The toy was made popular as a drinking game among Japanese men; one was to drink if the ball missed the cup or the spike. During Japan’s Meiji era, the kendama was used to educate and improve the hand-eye coordination of children. The kendama’s many parts include the ozara (big cup), the kozara (small cup), the chuzara (base cup), the kensaki (spike), the ito (string), the ken (handle), and the tama (ball). The history of the kendama would be an interesting introduction to my documentary, and learning the names of the kendama’s pieces will help me better educate viewers on the toy’s many playabilities.


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