The Body

What is a kendama? And what does it consist of?

A kendama consists of three main pieces, not counting the string or the bead/bearing.

Ken (sword): This term can reference two different things. It can mean the entirety of the ken and sarado (the cross piece) put together, meaning what you’ll generally be holding with the ability to land the tama on all three cups and the spike. But when describing the individual pieces of a kendama the ken generally only refers to the piece of wood that makes up the spike and the base cup, meaning the sarado has been removed.

Sarado (cross piece): The sarado is the Japanese term for the cross piece, meaning the piece of wood that makes up the big and small cup and is placed upon the ken to assemble a kendama, generally with the string leading through and connecting these pieces.

Tama (ball): The word tama is the japanese word for ball, and thus simply references the ball of the kendama.

Lastly, it can be mentioned that both the terms “ken” and “dama” are used as slang for the entirety of a kendama.