Kemari was a popular game in Japan during Heian period. The history of this ball game dates back to 644 AD. The game took its origination from Cuju — a Chinese sport. The characters of Kemari are exactly the same as in Cuju.
The game is played with a ball made of deerskin and the ball’s name is Mari. Mari is given a shape by stuffing it with barley grains and when the hide is set in shape, the grains are removed and skin of horse is used to sew the ball.
The unique aspect of Kemari is that it is a non-competitive sport. The main aim of Kemari is to keep one ball in the air and the entire players cooperate to do so. Players cannot use arms and hands and use any body parts including their knees, feet, head, back and sometimes even elbows according to certain rules. The one who kicks the ball is known as mariashi.
A flat ground is ideal field to play Kemari. The ground should ideally be 6-7 meters squared. The uniforms played by the players are quite old fashioned and have a crow hat. This type of clothing was popular back in old times and was known as Kariginu. The first Kemari event of the year is known to be called kemari hajime and usually takes place at a shrine.
- Freestyle Football — athletes compete to perform various tricks using a football.
- Jianzi — a traditional Chinese national sport, where players aim to keep a shuttlecock-type object (called a Jianzi) in the air by striking it predominantly with the legs.
- Picigin — a traditional water sport from Croatia in which the aim is to prevent a small ball from touching the surface of the water.
- Cuju — an ancient ball game that involves kicking a ball through an opening into a net
- Freestyle Footbag — performing various tricks with a footbag.
- Basse — a bag ball game from Norway in which the ball is kept from landing in the player's area, using any part of the body except the hands.
- Chinlone — the traditional sport of Burma or Myanmar, a team sport combined with dance (also known as Caneball).
- Sepak Takraw — an Asian sport like volleyball but using the feet to kick the ball over the net
- About the similar Chinese sport of Cuju
- sport in Japan
- Complete list of sports
- The Encyclopedia of Sports