Kendama Tricks

Kendama Tricks

Kendama tricks are the various catches, balances, spearings, and jugglings that kendama players practice and perform.

The most basic trick is the moshikame, juggling the ball between the big cup and the center cup, for as long as you can. Young children learn this trick. The Guinness Book of World Records has certified world records for this trick, and competitions are periodically held in Japan for it. At this point the world record is many, many hours long, so it’s kind of not even fun anymore. It’s become a grueling marathon ordeal to even rank in the top 100 for moshikame.

The fundamental tricks are the 11 tricks that the Japan Kendama Association requires for advancing up the kyu rankings to 1-kyu level, which include the moshikame.

After the kyu level tricks are the dan level tricks. There are about 10 more tricks here, and a freestyle trick may be included.

Kendama Trick List

But how many tricks are there in all? On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of its founding the JKA published a book of 100 favorite tricks, selected by our Mr. Touch (Shigeo Tanabe) of, mentioned on our top page. These were divided into the following categories:

  • Cup Tricks
  • Moshikame Juggling Tricks
  • Spearing Tricks (Jerking from a Stationary Rest)
  • Airplane Tricks
  • Spearing Tricks (Swinging the Ball)
  • Voyage Tricks (Traveling Around …)
  • Lighthouse Tricks
  • Sliding Balances
  • Swings
  • Nightingale Tricks (Cup Edge Balances)
  • Slip-Stop and Ken Base Balances
  • Ball Grip Balances
  • Aerials
  • String Catches
  • Special Unclassified Tricks

So there are 100 tricks in all?

Not so fast.

A Japnaese site called the Archive of Kendama Tricks lists several hundred tricks. And not to be outdone, the JKA at one point or another has claimed several thousand to several tens of thousand tricks exist, numbers apparently concocted by multiplying out various positions and the like.

In addition to normal tricks, the JKA competitions include time trials.

What’s clear is that you’ll never master all the kendama tricks!