Kendamas at Michigan City High School

Mohammad Hakim, News Reporter

When walking around Michigan City High School it is difficult to find a student who doesn’t know what a kendama is. This is primarily due to the efforts of former Michigan City teacher Mr. Haughee and current Japanese teacher Tsugawa Sensei. A kendama is a wooden Japanese skills toy that is made up of a wooden handle and ball called the ken and tama, which are connected by a string. This initially simple looking toy strengthens coordination, balance, and most importantly patience. Tsugawa Sensei has incorporated this into his daily classroom teaching to encourage a willingness to learn and develop a new skill and how that relates to learning a foreign language. The kendama has become an iconic part of this school and was made a part of the foreign language Olympics this year as an event. Recently this week Tsugawa Sensei’s wife, who is also a Japanese teacher at Chesterton High School, has begun to emulate her husband’s use of the kendama as a teaching tool in her own classroom. After receiving class sets from a gracious donation from the kendama company Kendama USA, the popularity of the kendama has flourished with many participating in various skills testing according to the official rules of play. Tsugawa Sensei plans on continuing the spread of kendama as way to develop focus, creativity, and a sense of accomplishment.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email