All About Japan

Adorable Kitty-chan Kendama

Toys Sanrio Souvenirs

It looks like the traditional Japanese toy kendama might be developing some real mainstream appeal with Sanrio now releasing some ultra-cute kendama sets.

The kendama has been around for generations, so there’s no questioning its staying power. But it’s fair to say the game isn’t quite as popular as, say, Candy Crush these days. But a Hello Kitty kendama seems like the perfect way to get some new people to play the game. And the toys, produced by Sanrio and available at their online store for ¥2,268 (about US$20), even bear the Japan Kendama Association’s specially recommended product mark. So if you’re looking to get started, this is, officially, one of the best kendama you can buy!

There are six to choose from, all featuring some of Sanrio’s most popular characters. Of course, the first, and our favorite, is Kitty-chan!

There are also two versions of everyone’s favorite lazy egg, Gudetama! Here's the normal version, which has the character sitting in half an egg shell, looking as if it just settled into a nice hot bath.

And then we have a golden version of Gudetama.

And for an old-school, child-friendly version, we also have one of the cutest frogs in Japan, Kero Kero Keroppi!

There’s also a Pompompurin kendama toy, in case your favorite animal is this adorably illustrated dog.

Finally, there’s a My Melody version. Interestingly enough, it’s not listed on Sanrio’s website—but you can find it on Amazon Japan.

If you live outside the country, don’t worry! You can also find all of these kendama sets on Amazon USA, where they’re a bit more expensive than in Japan at $31.99 each. However, it looks like they have free shipping, so it’s probably about the same when you factor in paying to ship them overseas.

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