The following post addresses a realtively sensitive topic, but we want to be as transparent as possible and therefore we recommend that you read until the end.
What's going on fam! If you've ever scrolls social media and seen kens snapped at the sword when trying to be opened, then this post is for you. Here, as company owners, we will explain to you why it happens and how you can react to a situation like that. This happens to many companies, and Cereal Kendama is no different.
To understand why kens snap, we need to first understand the manufacturing process. When developing a ken shape, a company has to provide the manufacturer every minute detail of the sword and sarado. This includes basic information like cup size and sarado length - but also smaller more niche information like the diameter of the hole in the sarado where the spike goes through.
Machines then produce the sarado and ken based on the specifications and assemble them with the string.
The challenge that leads to kens breaking lies in 3 components: the spike length, sarado hole and wood. All of them are connected to one another.
First, when a spike length is specified to the production facility, it is not often that the spike length matches the sarado hole.
In order to achieve the spike length however, the facility uses a machine to press down the sarado onto the sword, resulting in many sarados and sword being very hard to separate.
I have a lot of experience with this being a left hander.
Next, depending on your wood choice and/or within the same wood, each piece put into the machine has a different density. Due to most kendamas being mass produced, it is not common for the facility to measure the density of the wood before pairing the sarado and sword together.
This can result in a less dense sword being paired with a dense sarado and therefore when the sarado is pushed down, the sword is compressed. When someone tries to remove the tight sarado, the sword will snap in half.
This also applies to more porous woods like hickory and beech from my personal experience.
The Fall Out
Outside of actually turning their own kendamas and ensuring that the spike length and sarado hole are calibrated, it is actually near impossible for companies who produce overseas to ensure that their kens don’t break in half when someone tries to take apart the sarado and sword.
What the company can do however, is control how they respond to the situation.
As a slayer, should this happen to you, my recommendation is to first contact the company on Instagram or via email with photos. Give them 2-3 days to reply and during that time do not try and remedy the ken.
If a company has not gotten back to you, try reaching out to their players or owners - if it is a reputable kendama company, these people should be rather easy to find.
Finally, as a company, it is their own judgement on what kind of make-good to provide when this situation happens. There is no right answer here, but I hope that this article will help shed light on this situation that seems to be happening more (or seeing more public attention) than ever.