Kendama is one of the most popular traditional Japanese toys still widely used today. Consisting of a ken (“sword”) and a ball attached with a long string, the objective of the toy is to successfully place the ball into one of the three cups, or the spike at the top which fits into the existing hole in the ball.

It’s hard enough just to swing the ball onto one of the cups, but there are a myriad of tricks that can be done on the kendama that all take practice and a whole lot of patience to master. The simple yet tricky nature of the toy has spurred fans worldwide, and in recent years kendama has become such a sensation that there are now kendama tournaments with players busting out creative, impossibly difficult tricks.

But mastering it takes laborious effort and a lot of time, and no matter how determined you are, it can sometimes be hard to stay motivated. That’s when Dendama, a new kind of kendama, might help you get back on your feet.

Dendama is played exactly like your ordinary, traditional kendama, but with one difference — you can link it to an iOS or Android device and have battles with your friends, or keep track of your personal progress while you practice to improve your skills.


Source: YouTube


Source: YouTube

Dendama has sensors on each cup and spike, as well as sensors that keep track of how and in what angle the ball is being swung. This allows the player’s Dendama to recognize tricks and whether they were successfully pulled off. If they are (during a 2-player battle), the Dendama will give “damage” to the opponent by sending vibrations to their Dendama.


Source: YouTube

Even when your buddies aren’t around, you can play alone and keep track of the progress you’ve made through practice. You can also play with another person, not by battling but by teaming up and trying to master new tricks assigned by the game. Improving on your kendama skills could be a lot more fun with a friend.


Source: YouTube

The creators of Dendama are currently collecting funds on Japanese crowdfunding site Makuake, and have achieved 68% of their goal so far. They still have over two months left to achieve that goal, and considering how awesome the toy is, we’re pretty certain they’ll be successful.

Who knows, there might come a day when people throughout the world participate in Dendama tournaments!

By - grape Japan editorial staff.