The World Yo-Yo Contest is the culmination of the worldwide competitive circuit. It is considered the world’s premier yo-yo event. In addition to attracting the world’s top players, it also serves as an important venue for the sport’s growing popularity in mainstream culture. Here’s a look at the history and culture of the sport. Read on to find out how it started and why it’s still so popular today.
Jake Yoyo’s first yo-yo tournament
In 2011, Takeshi Matsuura of Japan became the first person to win the World Yoyo Championships with a yo-yo. As of 2015, Matsuura is the reigning World Yoyo Champion and has dominated the Freehand division of the contest for seven years. He is considered to be the yo-yo equivalent of snowboarder Shaun White or olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, and his impressive routines are renowned worldwide.
The tournament is sanctioned by the American Yo-Yo Association, which has named an overall champion. In the 2003 contest, Anthony Jerving judged the competition and recommended the Lucky’s Collector’s Guide to 20th Century Yo-Yos. A looping tie-breaker was used to determine the winner of each division. Jake Yoyo’s first yo-yo tournament was held in Japan.
Alan Takada’s yo-yo empire
In the early 1990s, Alan noticed a spike in yo-yo sales and started stocking more spinning toys. To attract more people to the yo-yo game, he also hosted yo-yo demonstrations from the Mainland. During the 1998 Tokyo Toy Fair, Alan coordinated a massive yo-yo pro-motion, where 70000 kids watched professional spinners play with spinning rounds. The team, made up of kids aged 10 to 16, became an overnight sensation and helped sell ten million yo-yos in Japan and twenty million in the U.S.
While the World Yo-Yo Contest in Hawai’i was supposed to be the culmination of Alan Takada’s efforts, he was disappointed to find that his empire had grown too quickly and Team High Performance broke up. The two men, Takada and Gentry Stein, had been best friends for years and had even entered America’s Got Talent, where they were judged by four celebrities. Takada was a top finalist and took home the Best in Show award.
Shu Takada’s yo-yos
There’s nothing quite like the awe-inspiring moves that can be achieved with a pair of Shu Takada’s yonis. The reigning 2A world champion, who has a pale face and bespectacles, performs a backflip and whips two orange discs around his neck while leaning into a deep backbend. His routines at the World Yo-Yo Competition are so choreographed that he spent nearly 20 seconds mid-freestyle dancing and scoring enough technical points to claim his first World title.
In the men’s competition, Shu Takada is coached by Yojiro Takada, a Japanese professional who won the World Yo-Yo Championship six times. He likes to train his students with a 2a and 1a yo-yo team. Takada’s tricks are the man on the trapeze, the brain twister, the split atom, drop the bucket, and the Mach 5 among others.
Evan Nagao’s yo-yo tricks
Evan Nagao, a 19-year-old resident of Honolulu, has been practicing yo-yo tricks for 19 years. He has won several national contests, including a yo-yo competition held in Shanghai in August. In his quest to become the world’s best, he incorporated his love of the yo-yo into his music career.
The song Free Bird is the perfect background for Evan’s yo-yo routine. It matches the tempo and mood of the song perfectly. His routine is exciting and well-constructed. He performs numerous impossible tricks, including a spinning man over his head and through his legs. In addition to the traditional tricks, he also performs some Pokemon-inspired moves.
Unlike traditional sporting events, where you’re rewarded with cash prizes, yo-yo competitions are not a lucrative endeavor. There are no monetary prizes in yo-yo competitions, but top yo-yo players can travel the world and become a minor celebrity. Often, manufacturers sponsor the best yo-yo players and pay them a commission for their services. A few manufacturers, including Yo-hans of Japan and Yo-YoFactory of Hawai’i, have turned their hobby into a lucrative career.