Mugen kendama carry a legendary status in the kendama world and after a 5-year hiatus, they are finally returning!
From a Facebook post by Iwata-san:
私の中でいろいろな格闘がありましたが、私の背中を押してくれた Global kendama Network (GLOKEN) の窪田さん
After a major struggle with my inner self, I have made up my mind to come back to the Kendama world.Many thanks to Mr. Kubota of GLOKEN who has given me a strong supportive push, avid overseas Kendama players who have sent me warm messages and passionate domestic fans who have been hoping to see Mugen products again.Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
History of Mugen Kendama
Crafted in Hiroshima by Iwata Mokko, a maker of traditional Japanese calligraphy brushes, original Mugen were available in colors that were outside of the standard offerings from other JKA manufacturers at the time. The paint is sticky, but not so much that it hinders the sliding motion of kensaki suberi, or makes toudai too easy for beginners. The ken was superbly balanced, the grain was beautiful, and most were sold along side of other JKA kendamas for about the same price.
Kazuma Iwata, son of the owner Iwata Mokko, stopped production in 2008 due to patent disputes with the JKA. A 2005 Japanese patent and a design patent held by the JKA prevented Iwata Mokko from making Mugens without a JKA license, and even the stickerless Mugen Kotobukis could not be made without the JKA’s permission. Since production ended, Mugen prices have skyrocketed. Depending on the color, prices are ~$300-$550 to find original Mugen still new in the package. Even loose tamas were selling for up to $160 each.
Players and collectors have been asking Iwata-san for a return to production since it stopped. There have been fan pages put up on Facebook and video contests asking why people think Mugen should re-start production.
Return of Mugen Kendama
This morning, Kubota-san of GLOKEN posted the above video confirming the return of Mugen to the kendama world. It’s been stated that these will not be the same kendamas produced before, but will be completely new and redesigned. So far, there is no mention if Iwata-san will submit these for JKA approval, or if the original Mugen colors will return or be replaced by new colors. While details are still scarce one thing is for sure…we’re getting new Mugen kendama and they’ll be amazing.
Direct from Gloken:
It has been confirmed, Kazuma Iwata has decided to resume making kendamas. Kazuma said that he was thankful to all of you, who gave the warm and exciting video messages or purchased Mugen Tamas.Thanks to your support, we have come at the starting line.
Thank you for everything you did for bringing Mugen back. We are no longer the dreamers.New Mugen will be come back as the totally upgraded model, developed jointly with GLOKEN.Kazuma has already started making a prototype of new Mugen.
We will make all the arrangements to supply the finest kendamas in the near future.
Please wait and see the next announcement.※The details will be provided later on GLOKEN’s web site, http://www.gloken.net. For further information, feel free to contact us. Please note that neither Kazuma nor Iwata wood factory answers to any inquiries about this matter.Do Something Kendaful !