Difference in play?

I just got a cheap $2 kendama from walmart and find it very fun. I was wondering if their is any real difference in play between more expensive and different kendamas

I would recommend an upgrade. Could you post a picture of the one you purchased from Walmart?

There might be better weight, better string, better wood, better construction. It’s all preferences.

Since USA kendama play isn’t as strict in adherence to JKA standards, there’s a quite a bit of leeway in American designs. I’m not saying you need to get a JKA approved model for now, as it’s just a waste of money for the time being.

What I like are bare wood kendamas. I feel it has enough friction to play properly. Some of the painted ones are too slick, but not all are. The Tribute 1 and 3 line ones I find are too slick. Some of the tacky/sticky ones, the tacky surface will wear off in a few months unless it’s a SourMash treated tama(ball).

If you can, avoid spending more than $20 on your next one(excluding shipping). The Tributes are fine. The Sweets are good too. There’s a few other brands I want to pick up, including Klack and a regular sized KROM. If you don’t mind extra money, an Ozora model or a TK-16 are JKA approved and don’t often run too much. I’m not saying “go JKA approved”, but it’s an option you can venture into if you want. I will say I’m not terribly impressed with the Catchy(YYF) ones. For variations on a theme, look into the Pill, Rolling Pin and Voodama Doll.

There is.
Based on my experience getting one from a Japanese dollar (and a half; it’s MYR 5) store, they’re just suited for very, very basic play.

Modern kendamas have better construction, better materials, better balance of the ken and tama (important!). Which means you can do a whole lot more tricks.

If you ask me, start with something reasonable and build up your basics.

  • The basic Ozoras are about $15,
  • Tributes about $20,
  • KendamaUSA Classics are about $18.
    Once you learn things like tama hole awareness, balance and ridge tricks, then move on to a better kendama. Remember, try (if you can) before you buy.

My best kendama(s) thus far - a Mugen Musou. The best $80 i’ve spent on a kendama. I’ve never tried SourMash’s stuff though.

@Studio42, how do the SourMash kendama/tamas compare to ones you have?
Catchy kendamas are super-duper slippery. And i really can’t see the hole mid-air.

I won a Roots kendama at Penn States. I couldn’t be more pleased. The construction is on par with the rest if the industry. The paint, however, is just the right amount of tacky and reputed to be very durable. I believe they sell for $20.

Your best bet may be to check the bst. All of the brands mentioned above will be plenty good and can be gotten cheap and in good condition from the bst.

I only played a Sourmash one once. I’d like to get a clear one. They are said to maintain their tack for years(but alas, time has not passed enough to prove it). They play as good as the kendama and player can play, but if you’re not as skilled, it really helps by keeping the tama from wanting to slip/bounce so it’s a little bit easier to get it in the cup if you’re off a bit.

The light-up Catchy is, in my opinion, very slippery and the plastic has too much bounce. It just feels like it’s gonna break. The metal one, I don’t like the vibration coming back at me, plus it feels like two bits of metal going “clink, clink” against each other. The size is amazing and perfect, but you just can’t get the durability out of wood in that compact of a design. The KROM mini, which is larger, is better in those regards.

Here is a photo showing my Catchy light-up, my Ozora(paid $40 for it, can’t figure where you guys are seeing these for under $20…), the Catchy mini-metal and the KROM mini:


Right now i’m saving up for the spring release of Mugens, so Sourmash tamas/kendamas will definitely be in my list after that.

The Catchy mini-aluminum feels very disproportionate to me. I’m accustomed to gripping kendamas with my whole hand, and grabbing the Catchy with just two fingers is just plain awkward.
Oh, the plastic Catchy sounds funny. It’s not the same as landing a perfect aeroplane on wood.

I believe you have stumbled yourself upon a hardwood ozora :slight_smile:

As long as it’s gonna last a good long time, I’m gonna be happy with it! I am a big fan of durable goods.

I think you got a Krom not an ozora

The one behind the krom is the ozora…