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Kendama is a traditional Japanese toy similar to the classic cup-and-ball game. The Kendama has three cups and a spike for the user to try to catch the ball with. The kendama is believed to have arrived in Japan from the west in the late 1700's, through the port town of Nagasaki. The kendama was believed to first be a drinking game for adults, but has grown over time to have a global following. The design of the Kendama is based on the model designed by Issei Fujiwara, the founder of the Japan Kendama Association. The JKA establishes the rules for play and scoring for tournaments. There are also kendama assosiations in the United States and United Kingdom (2006 KendamaUSA and the British Kendama Association respectively).
The Japanese Kendama Association has held kendama contests since 1979. The kendama contest held oustide of Japan was in 2008 by the British Kendama Association. The British Kendama Association now hosts the British Kendama Open and the European Kendama Open, while Japan hosts the Kendama World Cup and the Catch & Flow Freestyle World Championship. There are also competitions in Kentucky and Minnesota in the United States. Each tournament features various events, but all focus on the skills and abilities kendama users can display. With the help of social media, kendama competitions have gained a wide following with many players posting their tricks online.
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