Japanese Juggling With A Ball And Two Sticks – David Cain

Posted: November 5, 2014 by lambentI2e in Information, juggling


The title of this article is probably a bit misleading. While the form of juggling discussed certainly did originate in Japan and is still practiced there, it was picked up well over a hundred years ago by Western performers and was extremely popular at the early part of the twentieth century. However, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

A December 1914 edition of The Strand magazine from the UK featured a wonderful article written by famous Japanese juggler Gintaro Mizuhara (1875-1952) about the origins of different forms of Japanese juggling. This is what Gintaro had to say regarding the topic of juggling with a ball and two sticks.

“The oldest juggling feats in the world are those known by the title” Ball and Stick.” Some performers will use two balls and all of them will use two sticks, but “ball and stick” is the English name for this group of tricks.

The stick is a drumstick, for the feat was originated by a drummer who played outside a Japanese temple. Thinking to engage the attention of passers by (for the drummers are in a sense officials of the temple), this drummer made a number of flourishes with his stick, similar to those used to this day bv drummers in the British Army. Then the drummer learned how to throw up his stick and catch it again in a variety of ways. Afterwards he did the same thing with two sticks. One day he saw some children playing with a ball several simple games very much like those played by English children to this day. The drummer conceived the idea of doing something with a ball and his two sticks, and so the foundation for a long series of juggling feats was laid.”

For the full article, see here.


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