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Otedama is a traditional juggling game played mainly by Japanese girls. The traditional game consists of throwing and catching several ojami (fabric bean bags) simultaneously while singing a traditional ditty.

The origins of otedama are said to go back to a game played by nomads living near the Black Sea around 1200 B.C. which spread all over the world via the Silk Road. In Japan, it has been passed down from mothers to their daughters for about 1,200 years, reaching its height of popularity during and after World War II, when other toys were unavailable and life in Japan was hard. It is no longer played commonly  - it is very rare to find girls these days who know how to play the game, although in most cases their mothers and grandmothers did play it.

Nowadays, otedama are still sold widely, but they seem to be more for decoration than for play. These days they are often used as paper weights, pincushions, or accent pieces. We have included this tutorial in the children's section in the hopes that you, too, will consider sharing this as a game with the special children in your life.


Sewing these bags is very easy once you grasp the concept. Not only that... they are addictive! The pdf file includes illustrated step-by-step sewing instructions. And we've included the basic rules of the game. We don't doubt any child, young or old, will enjoy it!