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  • Writer's picturePhillip Radcliffe

The Changing World of Yo-Yo Competition

By Yuya Kudo

As you all know, yo-yos have one string and two circular plates. Many people think they know everything about yo-yos, but nowadays it has been changing at a rapid pace. Recent yo-yos models are made to perform tricks more easily. Not only that, new tricks are being thought of and developed one after another.

Yo-yos are traditionally made out of both wood or plastic, but nowadays, recent ones are made out of metal. In addition, yo-yos these days have ball bearings that considerably reduce friction when yo-yos are spinning, which is enabling more complex tricks. The price for yo-yos varies a lot, but most of them cost around $100.

There are mainly five styles (1A, 2A, 3A, 4A, and 5A) in yoyoing. 1A is a style where a player performs with a single yo-yo. It is the most conventional way of playing. 2A is hard to learn because you use two looping yo-yos. The yo-yos for 2A are basically shaped like classic yo-yos. 3A is 1A with two yo-yos, which is just as hard as 2A. 4A is a style where a yo-yo is not attached to the string. It is a really fun style and is similar to a diabolo (a juggling or circus prop). 5A is known as a counterweight style where a small weight such as a ball is attached to the end of the string.

The first yo-yo contest in Japan was the Japan Championship held by BANDAI Co. in 1997. After that, JYYF (Japan Yo-Yo Federation) started the Japan National Yo-Yo Contests every year. Although the first World Yo-Yo Contest (WYYC) was held in London in 1932, it wasn’t held as an annual event until much later. After many years, WYYC was held mostly in the U.S. from 1992 to 2014. In 2015, WYYC was held in Tokyo for the first time. The World Yo-Yo Contest was held online in 2021 because of the pandemic. The 2022 was scheduled to be held in Japan, but because of the pandemic, it will be held in 2023.

To be a world yo-yo champion, you have to place in the top 10 in a regional contest first and get into the final in the Japan National Yo-Yo Contest. If you are one of the Japan National finalists, you will be seeded in the WYYC preliminary. Finalists of continental contests, such as the Asia Pacific Yo-Yo Championship and European Yo-Yo Championship, will be seeded in the WYYC semi-final.


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