The 1st Hokuryu Kendama Festival 2021 Full of energy, full of fun, and full of smiles and laughter for everyone!

Friday, December 24, 2021

On Tuesday, December 21, from 5:30 p.m., the first Hokuryu Kendama Festival was held by the Hokuryu Kendama Club (represented by Naoki Kishi) in the large hall on the second floor of the Hokuryu Community Center under the pouring snow. About 20 energetic elementary and junior high school students from Hokuryu participated in the event.

The 1st Hokuryu Kendama Festival

How the Hokuryu Kendama Club was established

The Hokuryu Kendama Club was founded by Naoki Kishi, 29, an employee of the Hokuryu Town Board of Education. Activities started on September 14 this year with the aim of promoting interaction among local people and creating a society full of daily joy through kendama. The club is active every Tuesday, and now has more than 20 children from the town participating on many days.

The establishment of the Hokuryu Kendama Club was triggered by an event held last July 2020 to promote interaction between children and the elderly. Kishi was impressed by the children's enthusiasm and enjoyment of kendama when he invited Mr. Retsu Saito, the representative of Atsuma Kendama Club, a.k.a. "Kendama KEN-chan".

Hokuryu Town Portal

Tuesday, July 21, 2020 On Saturday, July 18, at 9:00 a.m., the Hokuryu Town Board of Education sponsored the "Kendama" project for interaction between children and the elderly...

Mr. Kishi, who had been playing kendama for some time, later decided to found a kendama club in Hokuryu Town after hearing from Mr. Saito of the Atsuma Kendama Club.

Combined with the recent popularity of kendama, such as "Tsutsu Ken" and Fuji TV's "Kendama Christmas 2021," children's interest in kendama has been growing.

Hokuryu Kendama Club Instagram
We are an active kendama club in Hokuryu-cho, Hokkaido. We are loosely held every Tuesday from 6:00pm to 7:00pm at the main hall on the 2nd floor of the community center.
Click here for Instagram >>
Hokuryu Kendama Club T-shirt

KENDAMA" boom around the world

Kendama seems to be spreading worldwide these days, as a professional skier visiting Japan around 2006 brought back kendama as a souvenir. Now, it is popularly known as "KENDAMA," and its performance combined with new sports and dances is gaining popularity (see below).See also: wiki, Kendama(See Section 2.1.2.).

Zu~Danke: Performance that combines music and dance with kendama
Kendama World Cup Hatsukaichi 2021 (online) Level 12 (highest)

Kendama Promotion Activities in Japan

Currently, two organizations are active in Japan (see below).Reference: GLOKEN(GLOKEN). Hokuryu Kendama Club conducts activities in accordance with the Global Kendama Network (GLOKEN).

  • public-service corporation Japan Kendama Association(Headquarters: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo)
    Tradition and spread of Kendama: "Kendama-do", which respects tradition and kata.
  • General Incorporated Association Global Kendama Network(GLOKEN: Headquarters, Matsumoto City, Nagano Prefecture)
    Connecting the World with Kendama: The essence of Kendama is "play.

Kendama Christmas 2021 (Fuji TV Kendama Club)

Incidentally, the Fuji Television Kendama Club's "Kendama Christmas 2021" event is a challenge project in which participants complete a specified theme technique every day between December 1 and 25, and post a video of it on Instagram to win a kendama and other great prizes.

Fujiken/Kendama Christmas 2021
This is a challenge project in which participants are required to complete a specified theme technique every day from December 1 (Wed.) to December 25 (Sat.), and post a video of it on Instagram.  Click here for details > >

Mr. Kishi is uploading his "Kendama Christmas 2021" skills daily on the Hokuryu Kendama Club Instagram. He is working hard to get products for Hokuryu Kendama Club.

New game "Tube Ken

New games that update kendama have also appeared. A game called "tsutsu-ken" (invented by Satoru Shimizu), which uses a tool with a ball (filled with sand) placed on a cylindrical handle, has also become popular.

Tsutsuken Home Page
Tsutsu Ken" is a tool to enjoy Kendama more easily while reproducing the movement of Kendama. The usage of this simple tool is unlimited, depending on your imagination.  Click here for details > >

Mr. Masateru Akamatsu JOHN Masateru, Kendama Examiner

Today's kendama examiner was Mr. Masateru Akamatsu JOHN (47 years old, asahidama kendama team representative), who holds an international certification. He came from Asahikawa City in the snowy weather.

Mr. Masateru Akamatsu JOHN
Nice catch!
asahidama asahidama Hokkaido Asahikawa Kendama club activity and instagram
From the northern city of Asahikawa in Hokkaido, we aim for regional revival and reconstruction through kendama, and from there we will connect to the world.
Click here for Instagram >>
アサヒダマ 北海道旭川けん玉部活動

Akamatsu has loved kendama since elementary school. One day, he watched a Youtube video of USA's kendama and was shocked by the cool kendama play and instantly fell in love with kendama!

Mr. Akamatsu, who previously worked in the apparel industry, is now active in Asahikawa, starting in 2019 with the kendama team club "asahidama asahidama" in Asahikawa!

foreign-made Japanese bilboquetquet (cup-and-ball game)

This time, kendama from ROOTS (Asahikawa, Japan), a kendama lifestore owned by Mr. Akamatsu, were on display and for sale. Children were fascinated by the colorful kendama made in the U.S., Holland, Hong Kong, and other foreign countries, which they do not usually see.

ROOTS "ASAHIDAMA Asahikawa Kendama Club Activity
Kendama Life Store appeared in the center of Asahikawa, Hokkaido. Opened by Masateru Akamatsu John, this is the first store in Hokkaido that offers kendama and apparel.
Click here to read the GLOKEN Kendama Map >>
アサヒダマ 北海道旭川けん玉部活動

Japanese Kendama

Japanese Kendama

Overseas Kendama (U.S.A., Netherlands, Hong Kong)

Overseas Kendama
American made Kendama

right-hand man

right-hand man
「asahidama アサヒダマ」オリジナルキャップ
asahidama" original cap

Seisa International High School Asahikawa Campus, Kaneji Kato, Vice Campus Director

Mr. Kenji Kato, a.k.a. Katoken, Vice Campus Director of Seisa International High School, a correspondence high school, visited us with members of the school's Kendama club. He taught the children of Hokuryu Town the basic techniques of Kendama.

Kenji Kato, Seisa International High School

Mr. Soan.

Mr. Soan.

Mr. Taiga.

Mr. Taiga.
Seisa International High School Asahikawa Campus
The school fosters human resources who can be immediately effective in society by emphasizing interactions with others, acquiring social skills, becoming firmly independent, and choosing a career path with a sense of purpose.  Click here for details > >
通信制高校 星槎国際高等学校 旭川キャンパス

The 1st Hokuryu Kendama Festival

The 1st Hokuryu Kendama Festival

Kendama experience, Kendama practice, Kendama test

Practice on your own

Voluntary training!
Serious! Fun!
Nice catch!

Kendama test

Kendama test to be taken by each participant. The examiner is Mr. Masateru Akamatsu JOHN.

  • Kendama Medal Challenge:Level 3, Level 2, Level 1
  • Basic:Level 3, Level 2, Level 1
  • Advance:Level 3, Level 2, Level 1
List of Kendama Certification Tricks
Stay calm! Concentrate!

Gold sticker for successful applicants!
Congratulations on passing the exam!

Congratulations to Kissy (Naoki Kishida) for passing Advanced Level 3 & 2!

Congratulations on your acceptance, Kissy!

The King of Unicorns Tournament

The contestants are divided into groups of 10 and compete in a 5-player tournament, with the last 5 players competing in the finals.

The King of Unicorns Tournament
In position, yo, Don!
Be balanced and careful!

Last spurt!

Congratulations on your win, Yui!

Congratulations on your win, Yui!
The winner's plaque!

trick battle

Challenge yourself with techniques according to your level! There are levels 1, 2, and 3, and participants try 4 different techniques for each level. The order is decided by lottery. You can try one technique up to 5 times. Points are deducted for each failed attempt, and the winner is the one with the highest total points.

  1. Level 1:Large and small plates, 10 frowns, baseball, (mawashi) and meken
  2. Level 2:Hand-plated platter - ken, 15 times of shimame, tome-ken, trapeze
  3. Level 3:Tomeken, Mokame 20 times, Around Japan, Hikouki

Nervous and working hard!

trick battle
Challenge each level technique!
Concentrate and be careful!
Everyone applaud!

"How was it?"  I was nervous!

John (Akamatsu) asking for feedback

The original "asahidama asahidama" badges presented to the 2nd and 3rd place winners!

2位・3位に贈られた「asahidama アサヒダマ」オリジナルバッチ
Original "asahidama asahidama" badges presented to the 2nd and 3rd place winners

Congratulations on your win, Ryu!

I was so happy to win my first kendama tournament! said Ryu strongly!

Congratulations on your win, Ryu!

Everyone plays!

The winner is the one who takes the same action to succeed or fail in the katoken technique!

Everyone plays!

Who succeeded in the technique! A lot! Katoken failed, and the person who failed won the prize. He got a "Kendama"! Lucky boy!

Kendama prizes, get it!

Adult playoffs

One by one, they took turns to challenge and clear the most difficult moves!

John (Akamatsu), play!
Katken, play!
Kissy is serious too!

Soan, you are clear!

Congratulations, Soan!

Closing Remarks: Naoki Kishi, Representative

Greetings from Mr. Kishi

I honestly didn't think I would be able to do this kind of event with everyone since I started in September this year. However, everyone practiced hard at home, and I could see that they had practiced a lot, as each of them had scars on their kendama.

I hope to be able to hold such an event again next year. I myself will do my best to further improve my skills. I would like to give a round of applause to everyone from "Asahidama Asahidama" for coming today. Crackle, crackle, crackle!

This concludes this year's Kendama Club. We will inform you of the practice date and time next January. Thank you very much for today! said Representative Kishi, expressing his gratitude.

Thank you for your time today!

Who had fun~! HI!!!

楽しかった人〜〜〜! ハーイ!!!
Who had fun~! HI!!!

The children received sweets as a prize at the end of the event and headed home.

That was fun! Good night!

楽しかったね! おつかれさまでした!
That was fun! Good night!
With boundless love, gratitude, and prayers for the Hokuryu Kendama Club, which is full of energy, smiles, fun, and mastery of skills.

We would like to express our gratitude to the Kendama Club, where we can enjoy ourselves with full of energy and enthusiasm.

More Photos

Click here for 164 photos of the 1st Hokuryu Kendama Festival 2021 >>
◇ Photography and Editing: Noboru Terauchi Reporting and Writing: Ikuko Terauchi

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