Funny Articles

Old School Japanese Toys!

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The Smosh Pit's blogger Lance Henderstein blogs for us from his new home… in JAPAN!


Renowned for their high tech gadgets and video gaming expertise, it’s hard to imagine the Japanese before they replaced themselves with the animatronic versions we know and love today.

The Japanes love their games and toys but there was a time before the bleeps and blips when our Far-Eastern friends played with more low-tech devices… Here are some of Japans most popular old-school toys.



Tako are kites, but not the cheap pieces of vinyl you used to take to the park as a kid.

The Japanese have been flying kites for centuries and they've made some, uh… modifications over the years. They even have huge festivals of kites where people compete to see who can make the biggest and most beautiful kite.



Menko are playing cards. They started off with pictures of Sumo, baseball players and other popular figures. Now they include pictures of anybody, from famous accountants to under-aged girls.

NOTE: This is NOT Magic: The Gathering or POGS.

The game is played aggressively. Players SLAM the cards down fast and furious until a winner emerges. It’s like a crump-dance battle meets blackjack. The winner gets the cards. The loser must eat the rock-hard stick of gum that comes in the pack, or commit hara-kiri.



National Boys Takeuma Champions (Then)

Takeuma means “Bamboo Horse”, you and I call them stilts. In a land of short people and flooded rice paddies, the ability to walk on stilts was essential until jetpacks became the common mode of travel.

National Boys Takeuma Champions (Now)

Teams battle one another until one of the children breaks their neck, scuffs a knee, or cries like a little baby, or gets stuck in a rice paddy.



Koma is a kind of German Top (or a “Dreidel” if you had a Bar Mitzvah) combined with a Yo-Yo and lastly an acrobatic ninja performance thrown in.

You’ve reached black belt when you can balance the Koma on the end of a sword or fan blade… the sword or fan you’ve used to slay your foes with!



Kendama is a stick and ball game.

This is how you play…

Looks simple right? Wrong.

Just watch the video of a kedama champion and think of all the time he must’ve spent alone as a kid in his room.

It's kinda sad, and kinda cool at the same time.

Have you ever played with an old-school Japanese toy? What's your favorite Japanese toy?


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