Before video games were ever even imagined by the great minds of one’s time, there were once simple and traditional toys that children used to play with back in the day. These toys, no matter how simple they were, brought joy to the hearts of these children, who had nothing much to do back then. In Japan, there were several traditional toys that Japanese children used to play with one another. One of these toys that put a gleeful smile on their faces was known as beigoma.
Game of Spinning Tops Known As Beigoma
Beigoma is a simple and traditional spinning top that children play in Japan. The toy is traditionally small and lightweight so children can carry it around with them wherever they go. It has a pointy shape and a diameter of around 3 centimeters. A cord 60 centimeters thick is used to wrap around the spinning top toy. Children would throw the throw the toy and release the cord simultaneously to make the toy spin on a surface.
The goal of the game is to knock the other pieces of beigoma out of the playing area. This is usually done by aiming one’s beigoma at another’s so it hits and hopefully throws it out of the playing area. The top that gets knocked out of the area or stops spinning loses the game. If a beigoma is spun in the right manner, it shall also produce this humming sound that most players would be familiar with.
Back in the day, a beigoma would be made out of cast iron with a spiraled base. Even though it is expected to be heavy due to its material, its small size makes up for it so that it does not become too heavy for children to carry around with them. A beigoma is also typically designed with a raised letter or kanji or hiragana character. Its material is cast iron to make it sturdier as the game can be pretty rough in comparison to marbles.
A nice thing about beigoma is that it can be played at any time, in any season. The only requirement would be a shallow indentation where the toys would be spinning. The typical playing area is circular in shape that is inscribed around the shallow indentation. The game requires a minimum of two players. The more players there are, the more fun the game would be.
Each player would have to his or her turn to spin his or her top into the playing field. The order of who is going to go first is usually determined by playing jan-ken-pon, which is just the Japanese version of rock-paper-scissors. Of course, the first one to spin his or her toy is the most disadvantaged player, as subsequent players would knock the first top in. Factors that play a role in this game include windups and proper throwing of tops. Proper aiming and appropriate strength at pitching are also important in this game.
Although most people who only watch the game would assume that the wrapping process is quite simple, that is not necessarily the actual case. In fact, this procedure actually takes a bit of practice, especially for people playing for the first time. The first step is to wrap around the knotted end of the cord about the upper stem of the spinning top once. This should be done by using the tension produced by the knot in order to keep the cord in place.
The second step is to pull the cord to the tip at the bottom of the spinning top and wrap it around. It is important to maintain the tension that keeps the knotted cord at the top. Continue to wrap the cord around the spinning toy all the way to the top. The last part is to ensure that the cord is properly wrapped around the whole bottom of the toy. After this process, one is ready to take some action.
Typically, the remaining cord is tied around the pinky of the dominant hand of the player, which is usually the throwing hand. The player shall make a sweeping forehand motion to throw and spin his or her top into the playing field. This motion is somehow similar to that done in tennis or when one is trying to skip a stone across a lake. The cord wrapped around the top shall do its job of making the toy spin.
It is said that the origins of beigoma may be traced to China. Initially, beigoma originated as koma, which were toys made of wood. Koma was extremely popular among the common folks back in the Kamakura period. The toy was also quite popular during the Edo period back in the 17th century. Back then, the toy was composed of spiral seashells filled with sand. They are, then, sealed with molten wax.
As the 20th century emerged, the materials used to make beigoma changed to lead. Later on, it was further developed and cast metal was used. Probably the peak of the popularity of beigoma was during the first half of the 20th century. After which, its popularity went into decline as other post-war toys became more popular.
However, the concept of beigoma became popular again after the introduction of the Beyblade toy, which was based on beigoma. As of the year 2001, only one factory is known to still be making beigoma. This factory can be found in Kawaguchi located in Saitama prefecture.
Beyblade, Beyblade Burst in TV and Youtube, and the Beigoma Academy Beyclub
Even though not many are now aware of the existence of beigoma, its concept is not new to the youth of today thanks to Beyblade. Beyblade was created by Takao Aoki based on the concept of beigoma. Even though beigoma is no longer as popular today, a new development of its kind emerged in the 21st century.
Beyblade is basically a line of spinning top toys that originated in Japan. It was initially developed and manufactured by Takara Tomy. The first Beyblade was released in the country in the month of July in the year 1999. Also known as either “Bey” or “Blade” in Japan, the concept of Beyblade is spinning toys with parts that are interchangeable. The toys can also be customized to one’s liking.
Not just the actual toy but also even the name itself was based on beigoma. The idea of Beyblade can be likened to a board game that was released by Ideal Toy Company in the year 1968 known as Battling Tops. The Beyblade toys were released in conjunction to the broadcast of the anime TV series Beyblade. It was so popular that by the year 2001, the Beyblade series was licensed by Sonokong, which is a toy maker in Korea.
It was not long before Beyblade became recognized internationally. Beyblade toys began selling on an international scale by the year 2002. Moreover, the Japanese anime TV series was also localized in different countries. Years after it was first introduced, the first incarnation of Beyblade was released in the month of August in the year 2008 called “Beyblade: Metal Fusion.” Seven years later, it was followed up by “Beyblade: Burst” in the year 2015. The term “beyblade” was actually a combination of the Japanese word “beigoma” and the English word “blade.”
As of today, the latest generation of the Beyblade franchise is “Beyblade: Burst.” More commonly known as Beiburēdo bāsuto in Japanese, this third generation series was released on the 15th of July in the year 2015. The concept of beigoma still remains in this new series, which spinning tops battling against one another.
The upgrade in this new generation is known as the “Burst Gimmick.” Initially, if the spinning top has weakened, it would just stop spinning. However, with this new gimmick, the spinning tops would “burst” upon reaching a point of weakness. This bursting action is made of three parts, namely, the energy layer, the forge disc, and the performance tip.
The energy layer is the top wheel of contact between opposing Beyblade tops. Every wheel incorporates a specific design based on the player’s preference, namely, Attack, Stamina, Defense, and Balance. The forge disc, on the other hand, serves as the primary weight of the spinning top. This wheel also helps to serve the main purpose of the energy layer. Lastly, the performance tip serves as the driver of the spinning toy. The height of the Beyblade, as well as its tip style, is based on the performance tip.
Hence, instead of the toy just stop spinning to signify its loss in the game, the Beyblade would fall apart and “burst.” There are several teams composed of various players that play in the show. One of these teams is known as the Beigoma Academy BeyClub. More commonly known as the Beigoma Gakuen in Japanese, this team can be found both in the anime show as well as in the manga series.
The Trendy Beigoma: Master Rules and Types of Beyblades
The rules in beigoma back in the day were quite simple. The game required at least two players and the goal was to knock other tops out or making them stop spinning. On the other hand, Beyblade, which is basically the popular version of beigoma today, has some rules and regulations that players must adhere to when playing the game. Similar to beigoma, this game cannot be played alone. However, a game of Beyblade can also only be played by two players.
In a single match, each player can spin up to three Beyblades of their choice. However, choices are limited for every match and each player must only use the parts that are available at the time. Furthermore, once the battle has begun, players would no longer be allowed to change or switch parts.
The goal of this game is to reach seven points. The point system basically depends on how the opposing Beyblade tops get knocked out. A single point is given for every opposing Beyblade top that stops spinning. This is called Spin-out. Another point is given for every opposing Beyblade that is either knocked out of the playing field or knocked into the perimeter pocket of the playing field. This is known as Ring-Out. Lastly, two points are given for every opposing Beyblade bursting, which is called Burst Finish.
There are four types of Beyblades depending on the style of the player. The first type is the Attack of Striker. As the name suggests, Beyblades of this type focuses mainly on attacking its opponents. Speed is one of their best friends, as they try to knock out their opponents as fast as possible.
However, their defense mechanism can be poor. The second type is the Defense or Defender. Instead of focusing on the attack, these types of Beyblades focus on the counter-attacks. In comparison to other types, they are much slower and heavier. As a result, it is harder to knock them out, which tends to wear down Attack-types. However, because they release slower, they also produce less stamina.
The third type is known as Endurance, Stamina, or Survivor. As the name suggests, this type primarily focuses on maintaining its stamina. They are best used to out-spin opposing Beyblades. Because they focus more on stamina, they also tend to be poor in power. However, they work better in terms of lasting longer in the playing field in comparison to Defense-types.
Last but certainly not the least is the Combination or Balance. This type does not have its own primary focus. Instead, this type is a combination of the three types mentioned above. Though they do not have a special strength or weakness, a proper mix of the three may give them the potential to win the game.
Buy These Tops for Sale on Ebay and Amazon
While Beyblades are probably more accessible today due to its popularity, there are still some beigoma tops that can be bought in antique stores. Thanks to popular shopping websites, one may also find these traditional spinning toys for sale probably on eBay or Amazon. However, it would probably be more accessible in online stores in Japan, where beigoma was actually more prominent back in the day.