Kendama (Japan) - Bilboquet (French) - Cup & Ball (English) - Balero (Mexican) - Ajagak (Inuit) - Pin & Ring



The Kendama (left) was invented in the early 20th century in Japan. It is an evolution of the French Bilboquet (right), which became a popular game for children and adults in France in the 16th Century. There is some debate as to whether this toy is an evolution of the games of the Inuit's, where the player attempted to catch one or more rings on a pin (below).


pin and ring





The indigineous peoples of California had versions of the game as well. Below is a pin and ring game made from squash slices and a stick.



Japan Kendama Association - Some Trick descriptions and competition information

British Kendama Association - Comitted to spreading the game of kendama in the UK consider the BKA for first stop for all things Kendama.

Top Web Sites

Brief Guide to the Kendama - A nice clean site with descriptions of tricks.

Web Japan - A small site with some information on the Kendama.

Aboriginal Innovations - A discussion of the history of Pin & Ring games as it relates to the Inuit culture. - Tricks in English

A Nice Collection - Photos of a wide range of styles and designs.

Wikipedia - Always a good source of information.

Educational Resources - Game, lesson plans, and videos for creating kendama type toys on a shoestring budget. - How To Make Baleros - A lesson plan on making Baleros for elementary school students. A nice tie-on for learning about Mexican culture, spanish writing/reading lessons, and childrens' games.

Honda Playland - A japanese site with instructions on how to create various types of Kendama. The site is in Japanese, but the pictures are easy to follow.

Japan Foundation - Another nice site with directions to create a Kendama. Again, in Japanese, but easy to follow.

Video - This page opens to a long list of QuickTime videos. The page is in Japanese.

YouTube - Always lots of videos on YouTube. Seach for Kendama.

Vendors - These folks sell replicas of the Native American pin and ring games. Several varieties are available, including "Birchbark Triangle and Ball Game", "Cedar Bundle & Pin Game", and "Deer Toes Ring & Pin Game". - They carry a selection of JKA Approved Kendamas

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