Thursday 29 June 2017

Some Japanese Nonsense!

In spite of the title, this is a lovely pair of historic treasures…

Created in 1984(!) as a collaboration between Nob Yoshigahara and Akio Kamei, and brilliantly executed by the latter, this pair of boxes really belongs together. Not just because they look similar in their cherry and walnut woods, but because their mechanisms are really similar, yet totally opposite…

Nonsense Box – the cherry wood one – is named after the fact that it is thoroughly useless as a box… from the devious mind of Nob Yoshigahara it displays his sense of humour rather neatly… why would anyone ever decide to design a box that was thoroughly useless?!

W-Nonsense was Kamei’s reprise on the topic – theoretically less useless than Nob’s Nonsense, but ultimately just as useless… 

…and sadly, as I like to try and avoid spoiling puzzles, even ones you’re not likely to come across every day, that's about all I can say on that aspect of the them…

I can however tell you that they rattle, a lot – there are a lot of pins inside there, and they’re big – a lot bigger than I thought they were from their pictures!

Despite their age (over 30 years now!) they still operate perfectly – serious props to Kamei-san!

… funny thing is, that I find a lot of puzzlers don’t stop to enjoy the joke – open the first box, close it up. Open the second box and close it up. Then move on to something else… without stopping to think about the obvious pairing, their differences and where the name comes from… pity that.

Lovely little bit of puzzling history in there... two of the greats, having a laugh together...


  1. Hello Allard,

    Kamei's page on the Karakuri Group's website states this set was created in 1984. But are you certain these boxes were actually produced and sold as early?! I would have rather thought they were made in the early 2000's. I'm not sure about whether the solution sheet - if any - will provide that information.


    1. Ah - I see your point, Lionel - the same set was produced in July 2004... I need to find the solution sheet and check... or just say I don't know! ;-)

  2. Never mind, Allard! And whatever the actual production date for those may be, it's still a beautiful set that you have. Congratulations on getting it!

  3. yes these are really beautifully made!