Monday 21 March 2016

Kamei Small Box 1

I chanced upon a copy of this lovely little 1999 Kamei creation recently while I was at a little puzzle gathering near London… a friend had it for sale and after trying unsuccessfully for a while to open it, I asked for the price and a deal was struck…

I spent a bit more time trying to open it and made very little headway – I thought I’d found something interesting and then couldn’t make up my mind if the rattling inside was part of the mechanism or just a noise-maker inserted to 
confuse puzzlers.

Make no mistake – I was confused by it! I was pretty sure I’d deduced the subtelties of what I was trying to do, but for the life of me, I couldn’t actually get it to do anything…

Oli duly had a bash and a few minutes later there was a broadening grin on his face and he quickly hid what he’d been doing from me… convinced himself he’d fully solved it and then gave it back all locked up again – Thanks mate!

I explored some more and tried a little more insistently on what I had been trying to do – to be rewarded with a little movement – some encouragement from Oli and soon enough I was in…

This box is really unusual in its mechanism – and it’s small – less than 5cm on a side – the locking mechanism is SO beautifully disguised that you could very easily overlook it for absolutely ages… yet a mere three moves opens the box and there’s a lot of space inside it…

Classic Kamei – beautifully made in rosewood – it’s definitely stood the test of time!


  1. Looks a beautiful puzzle box with great craftsmanship. Do you know if this is the same box as Karakuri Small Box No.1?

  2. ... Looks like what I tried to post this morning never made it to the blog - but nevermind!
    A really nice and great-looking little puzzle box, which goes back to 1999 (already). I haven't played with it in years and I remembered it as a smaller item than what your description implies.

    And just to address Gerard's question above, no, this is not "Small Box 1" from the Karakuri Group: That one was produced by Kamei-san and goes by the sweet name of "M-24"! If my memory is faithful, my own copy looks quite "shinier" than the one pictured in your post, though.

  3. Thanks Yvon! - it is indeed nothing like the standard Karakuri small box #1 - and you're right, it IS quite shiny - polished even... :-)