Koma spinning top


Spinning Top 独楽(コマ) koma

Turning round and round, like the four seasons, everything goes well. The spinning top is an auspicious symbol for a good harvest and the well-being of family and business.

I have quite a few spinning Daruma tops in my collection.

Darumakoma だるまこま

CLICK for more and original ... wordfun.net

All kinds of spinning tops from Japan !
. . . CLICK here for Photos !


A top, or spinning top, is a toy that can be spun on an axis, balancing on a point. This motion is produced by holding the axis firmly while pulling a string. An internal weight then rotates, producing an overall circular motion. The top is one of the oldest recognizable toys found on archaeological sites.

Besides toys, tops have also historically been used for gambling and prophecy. Some role-playing gamers still use tops to augment dice in generating randomized results; it is in this case referred to as a spinner. A thumbtack may also be made to spin on the same principles.

Spinning tops are thought to have originated in ancient Egypt about 1000 BC and examples of spinning tops have also been found in Greece dating from around 700 BC.

Japanese tops are considered some of the very best in the world with new and inventive designs coming out each year.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !


Daruma koma yellow 達磨独楽

Daruma koma red


itobiki Darumakoma 糸引きだるまこま
with a long thread


uranai Oyako Daruma for divination

We often use it to figure out who is doing the dishes after a party !


uranai IROHA koma

The Japanese alphabet I RO HA NI is written.


ategoma 当て独楽(コマ)to divine something
about 10 cm high and 6 cm wide

The numbers 1 to 6 are painted.


ategoma Kokeshi Daruma
当て独楽 (こま)  こけしだるま

and one more kokeshi, with a fierce look

. . . CLICK here for "Spinning Top" Photos !

. uranai 占い fortune telling, divination .
- Introduction -



kigo for late autumn

beigoma (baigoma) べい独楽(べいごま)
spinning tops made from shells

bai mawashi ばい廻し (ばいまわし / 海蠃廻し)

BAI are special conch shells that were used as spinning tops in the Edo period. The conches were opened and the inside filled with wax or lead to make them heavy. They were especially used befor the 9th day of the 9th month of the Chrysanthemum festival. This was not only a toy for children, even grownups enjoyed a game. Later the tops were made of metal. The top of an opponent has to be kicked out of the box or round.
Now these tops are also used during the New Year holidays.
A play of words with BAI, to come back to you manifold. 福が倍にくる

Here are more related KIGO
. Autumn ... Games as Kigo  

kigo for the New Year

koma 独楽 (こま) spinning top
. Things done at the New Year  

sumikitte koma no mawareri fuyu biyori

such clearness
as the top spins around -
fine winter day

Tanaka Fuyuji 田中冬二 (1894 - 1980)
Tr. Gabi Greve


koma ni made utsuru migi-kiki hidari-kiki

it even shows
when spinning tops - right-handed

Takenaka Hekisuishi 竹中碧水史 (1029 - )
Tr. Gabi Greve


koma-uchi no ikinokori mina oi ni keri

even the winners
of spinning top games . . .
all are getting old

Yamanoue Kazuichi 山上和一
Tr. Gabi Greve


kurukuru to koma no yoo ni genki de ne

round and round
like a spinning top -
stay healthy

A New Year haiga, written for a grandchild

Hisae no E-tegami


a top spins -
pattern on the shell
of a snail

Elaine Andre
Joys of Japan, February 2012


. hina matsuri 雛祭り Hina Doll Festival .
Girls Festival, March 3

komabina 独楽雛 hina dolls as spinning tops
so the children could play with them.
They come in small numbers or a full hina display.

source and more hina dolls : edoya/ohinasama


. Saga Folk Art -  佐賀県  - Karatsu .

Karatsu no koma 唐津の独楽
spinning tops from Karatsu

Karatsugoma 唐津独楽

source : My favorite corner
kenkagoma 喧嘩独楽 spinning top for fighting
This is a toy for fighting hard by hitting the other person's top, thrown from above. Therefore it is made from strong local wood マテバシイ mateba shii oak, Pasania edulis Makino.
It is decorated with red, blue and green stripes.
It is similar to the
. Yamegoma 八女独楽 spinning top from Yame .
from Fukuoka.

. kenka-goma けんかごま from Ume 宇目 .

. shii 椎 Shii oak - Castanopsis cuspidata - .


. Miyagi Folk Art - 宮城県   - Osaki .
keibagoma, keiba no koma 競馬ごま "horse-race spinning top”
In the middle is a large spinning top with a long handle. Two smaller tops are spinning on its surface until one is thrown off and out.

and - from Kanagawa, Odawara 小田原
keigagoma are also called
chirachiragoma ちらちらごま "flimmering tops"
since the two or more smaller tips make your eyes flimmer.

- Look at more samples here:
- source : koma/jiten/2-page -


- quote -
Ooyama-koma 大山こま Oyama Spinning Tops
Oyama top is a traditional toy made in the mountain area of Oyama, Isehara City, Kanagawa Pref.

Mt. Oyama has been worshipped by the local people since ancient days. In the middle of Edo period, when the religious faith in Mt. Oyama was at its peak, turners in this area began to make tops as a souvenir for the people who visited to worship Mt. Oyama, using abundant timbers and their traditional skills in turnery.
In Japan, a spinning top is associated with everything going round well, so a top is considered to be a lucky item to bring well-being of a family, success in business, and bumper crops. This simple and massive top with a history of 300 years is one of a few excellent examples of the toy that are still made with traditional skills. Its folkloric colored stripe patterns in harmony with the texture of wood give very homely impression.
- source : nippon-kichi.jp -


. Spinning tops from Yubara, Okayama .

. Sumo 相撲  Sumo wrestling dolls .
sumoo koma 相撲コマ spinning tops with Sumo wrestlers


. donkorogoma どんころ独楽 - Introduction
Donkoro spinning top for gambling .

- reference : asahi-net.or.jp/~RP9H-TKHS -

. Bakuchi 博打 Gambling Daruma Dice Holder .


. Tokyo and Edo Folk Art .

Edo koma, Edo-koma 江戸独楽 spinning top from Edo / Tokyo

Three tops of different size are brought to spin on a special tray.
Street performances with spinning tops on a rope, a handfan or a sword blade were also popular in Edo.

kyokugoma, kyoku-goma 曲独楽 acrobatics with spinning tops

CLICK for more photos !

- quote -
Masaaki Hiroi
makes traditional super spinner (kyoku-goma) tops which are used by traditional spinning top jugglers for their professional performances. A very simple top but which needs highly trained craftsman to create the best balance and spinning movement.
- source : edo-spinning-tops-by-masaaki-hiroi -


The 松井源水 Matsui Gensui family from Asakusa

- quote -
Matsui Gensui was a famous top spinner, equilibrist and juggler in Edo.

- wikipedia -

In a later generation the family travelled to Europe, around 1867.

Gensui with his wife Hana, their daughters Mitsu and Saki.
From 1867 onwards he and his family performed travelled all over Europe, sometimes in the company of other artists, performing their astonishing array of tricks.
- source : 19thcenturyphotos.com -

. daidoogei 大道芸 Daidogei street performance in Edo .

. Asakusa 浅草 district in Edo .

komashi 独楽師 making spinning tops
Spinning tops became a well-loved hobby of the grown-ups in Edo since the Genroku period (1688 - 1704). It was also a means of boys to find boy-friends.
. nanshoku、danshoku 男色 homosexuality in Edo .
Since this was becomming too obvious, the Bakufu government banned spinning tops in the year 1701.
The children of Edo were only using beigoma, spinning tops made from shells.
Since 1830 spinning tops from metal were sold.
Making spinning tops of wood was a side-business in Edo. The wood was first roughly cut, then smoothed with a file. After applying some colors it was covered with wax and polished.
Some tops were attached to a rope and used like ヨーヨー Yo-yo.

source : driveplaza.com/special/onihei

They were most popular in Nagasaki and called
tsurigoma 釣り独楽 "fishing spinning tops"
or teguruma, te-guruma 手車 "hand wheel".

source : yamada.sailog.jp/weblog
teguruma uri 手車売り vendor of a "hand wheel" toy

. Edo shokunin 江戸の職人 Edo craftsmen .

. kendama けん玉 cup and ball and Yo-Yo .


. Tengupedia - 天狗ペディア - Tengu ABC-List .

And one from Kawagoe, see the comments.


a drunk tiger
on my road to happiness -
this long summer night

An amazing resource of spinning tops of all kinds
by 広井政昭作 Hiroi Masaaki (1935 - )
江戸独楽職人 広井政昭さん / 神奈川県海老名市上今泉1-16-1
- - - - - start exploring from here :
- source : park15.wakwak.com/~eohashi/hiroimokuji-
- even a special about 江戸 カラクリ独楽 Edo Karakuri Koma
- source : eohashi/karakuri -


- #koma #spinningtop #kreisel -


dani said...

hello, I´m the administrator of the Flickr page of Spinning tops!

You can upload your pics of Koma on our pool. There are about 1900 pictures of Tops!

Gabi Greve said...

tonight the top divines ...
new bride
does party dishes

Pat Geyer
FB, Joys of Japan

Gabi Greve said...

spinning tops
dad's favorite one
rests on grave

Charlie Smith
Asahi Haikuist Network Jan 19-20, 2008

shared at FB, Joys of Japan

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Kyushu, Miyazaki
Sadowara mingei 佐土原民芸 folk art and crafts from Sadowara

Sadowara no bunguruma 佐土原のぶんぐるま spinning top
spinning top that makes a sound (bun),

harugoma 春ごま spinning tops of Spring
jindaikoma 神代こま "spinning top for the age of the Gods".

unarigoma うなりごま spinning tops that make a sound

Gabi Greve said...

Edo Goma is a wooden spinning top that came around during Edo period. It features a variety of shapes and colors.
Onkomaya Hiroi preserves the fine traditional art of wooden tops in Akiu Craft Park.

In the video, Michiaki Hiroi explains the tradition of Edo Goma and the reality of Japanese traditional craft studios.

Anonymous said...

Hakata koma (博多独楽)
The first top in Japan to have an iron axle.

Traditional wooden spinning tops at Hakata Traditional Craft Center, Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Prefecture.
The craft center was opened in spring of 2011, located next to Kushida Shrine, which is a major tourist spot. It exhibits the most famous traditional crafts of Fukuoka including Hakataori textile and Hakata dolls. Top toys were first introduced to Japan about 1300 years ago when bamboo tops (tou goma) were brought from China as a toy for children. Later in the 17th century, Hakata koma was made with wooden base and an inserted iron core as a spindle. Different from other top toys, Hakata koma spins very well with very little deflection and it is steady enough to be picked up on your palm and keep moving.

Making use of these features, acrobatics of Hakata koma performance was developed and later spread throughout the country.
Chikuzen (old name for the northwest region of today's Fukuoka .

Gabi Greve said...

a great resource with koma from all prefectures of Japan !!
take your time to explore!!

Gabi Greve said...

All kinds of spinning tops . . .
独 楽 大 図 鑑
More than 1000 photos to explore !

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Uwajima no koma 宇和島独楽 spinning tops from Uwajima

Ehime, Shikoku

Bull fighting was popular in the area, so was fighting with spinning tops. They are therefore rather robust. Made from the polished wood of sarusuberi tree, without any decoration.

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Imabari no koma 今治の独楽 spinning tops of Imabari

Made by craftsman Akiyama 秋山吉人 in the Showa period. They are quite strong, with a body of metal, usually iron 鉄輪こま. They can be used for special tricks, like throwing the kop in the air and catching it with the rope (chongake, chon-gake  ちょんがけ).

atsuwa koma 厚輪こま "top with thick rings"

chongake, chonkake koma ちょんかけ独楽 Chon'kake Goma, flying top

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Yamegoma 八女独楽 spinning top from Yame

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Sasebo koma 佐世保こま spinning top from Sasebo
kujuuku koma 佐世保九十九(くじゅうく)こま 99 varieties of spinning tops

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...


Higo chonkakegoma 肥後ちょんかけごま flying spinning top from Higo
Chon'kake Goma - chonkake koma - Higo Chonkake Goma

This spinning top originates in Indonesia. It was introduced first in Kumamoto about 400 years ago. It is a bit bigger in diameter than other Japanese spinning tops.

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

zugurigoma, zuguri koma ずぐり独楽 spinning tops

Hirosaki 弘前, Kuroishi 黒石市

They are made strong enough to be used in snow country.
ずぐり(づぐり) spinning tops from Aomori
jinguri じんぐり / おわんずぐり / さらずぐり
うちぐりずぐり Aizu
かぶずぐり Aomori
三重さらずぐり Yamagata and Aomori, 温湯

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Himeji no koma 姫路のこま spinning tops
made from wood of the えごのき ego no ki, Styracaceae, also called チシャ.
There are about 10 different types、文七独楽、ぶち独楽、紋入り独楽、源水独楽、鬼独楽、糸引き独楽.
The main colors are red and green.

Gabi Greve said...

Tengu koma 天狗独楽 spinning top with a Tengu
from Kawagoe, Saitama

Gabi Greve said...

more Koma from Miyagi 宮城県
nari-koma 鳴り独楽 from 鳴子温泉 and 弥治郎
tobi-koma 飛び独楽 from 遠刈田温泉
tejina-koma 手品独楽 from 鳴子温泉・白石市
o-hana koma お花独楽 from 弥治郎
oikake-koma 追っかけ独楽 from 遠刈田温泉
chochin koma 提灯独楽 like a lantern - from 鳴子温泉
ate-koma 当て独楽
灯篭玉出しと箱独楽 hako koma
七色独楽 koma in seven colors
photos are here

Gabi Greve said...

Utagawa Kuniyoshi (歌川 国芳. 1798-1861),
Series of Fashionable Comic Spinning-tops
(Ryūkū dōke koma zukushi, 流行道外こまづくし),
Publisher: Iba-ya Sensaburō, 1844