About Japanese Temari balls

Temari thread balls are traditional japanese folk art form. In Japan they represent symbol of prefection, a gift of joy and happiness.

Most of its history Temari was a toy for children. But it had several transformations before this.


Temari originates from leather ball for Kemari game (kickball type game), which came to Japan from China. This game was popular from middle 600-s to middle 1300-s years and was originally played only by noble people at emperor’s court.

Later Kemari game played only by men transformed into Temari game, played by girls and young ladies. They were tossing ball to each other and singing special songs. This was gentle game so girls began to decorate Temari balls with colourful embroidery. Stitching Temari was at first limited to upper classes, ladies competed in stitching the most complicated, splendid and exquisite pattern.

Playing with TemariTemari was regarded as valuable gift, it was handed over from mother to daughter. This form of art became more popular among common people, it spread through all the regions of Japan, where different specific to the regoin techniques and peculiarities appeared. Temari ball are also known as Edo Temari, Kishu Temari, Matsumoto Temari and Kaga Temari according to their geography.

Later on, Temari became a ball for children’s game. Mothers and grandmothers were making Temaris for their children of remnants of old kimonos – the core base was wrapped with layers of yarn and embroidered with a variety of threads. Sometimes a little bell or similar rattle was inserted into the core.

Nowadays Temari is a traditional Japanese souvenire, which is mainly used as an interrior decoration. Temari balls symbolize deep friendship and wishing good luck. Temari is considered to bring happiness and prosperity, they are presented as a wedding, birthday or New Year gift.

Alexander Gerzhan