Apple Kendama


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Science and nature merge with a traditional Japanese toy

It is one of the most famous anecdotes in the history of science. In 1666, a young Isaac Newton is sitting in his garden when an apple falls on his head. In a stroke of brilliant insight, he comes up with a theory of understanding gravitational force.

Applying that anecdote to play is artist Yasuhiro Suzuki, who came up with the idea of replacing the ball of a kendama with an apple. A kendama is a traditional Japanese toy that dates back to the 1700s. Inherently relying on gravity, the user pulls the ball upward and tries to land it on 1 of the 3 holes or the spike, each varying in difficulty.

Ken means sword, and refers to the main body. Dama (or tama) means ball. The Apple Kendama is handmade in Japan from 3 different types of wood, and is produced by more trees, a conservation organization dedicated to sustainable forestry and wood use.


  • Designer: Yasuhiro Suzuki
  • Materials: cherry wood (body), birch (ball), hinoki cypress (base)
  • Dimensions: 2.5 x 7.5 in (65 x 190 mm)
  • Made in Japan

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