A small but light pointy shaped toy of approximately 3 cm in diameter, it is spun by wrapping a thin 60 cm cord around it, then throwing it while releasing the cord to spin it onto a surface such as matting spread across the top of a barrel. The thrower aims it at another beigoma that is already spinning to knock it out of the playing area. The loser is the player whose top either stops spinning first or is knocked outside the area. If spun correctly it makes a humming sound.
Beigoma may have come to Japan from China, originating as Koma (wooden toys), popular with ordinary people in the Kamakura period. The toy was well known in the 17th century Edo period and was originally made by filling spiral seashells with sand and sealing them with molten wax. By the 20th century, they were made of lead and later, cast metal. Their popularity peaked in the first half of the 20th century, losing favour as newer post war toys became available. Recently, the popular Beyblade toy, which is modelled after beigoma has caused a re-surge in interest. Beyblades are similar to beigoma but have no stem.
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