The beigoma (Japanese: ベーゴマ) is a traditional Japanese top that is approximately 3 cm in diameter and often decorated with kanji. When spun correctly, the beigoma makes a humming sound.
Players wrap their tops in thin, 60-cm cords, which they use to launch the tops onto the playing surface. The winner is the player whose top spins the longest or successfully knocks the opponent's top out of the playing area.
The beigoma may have come to Japan from China, originating as a wooden toy known as Koma, popular in the Kamakura period. Well known by the 17th-century Edo period, the toy was originally made by filling spiral seashells with sand and sealing them with molten wax. By the 20th century, beigoma were made of lead and later of cast metal. Their popularity peaked in the first half of the 20th century before falling out of favour as newer postwar toys became available.
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