To open the box you will have to take 36 steps in the right order…. and still, this box holds one more secret before it’s completely open.
The box measurement is 6 Sun. A traditional unit of measure to denote the length of 3.03cm. This is the largest Japanese puzzle box we have available at this time. We do also stock a 54 + 1 step version which is even harder to open.
This box is the traditional Koyosegi wood veneer pattern. Because each of these puzzle boxes is handmade in Japan by individual craftsmen the pattern on each one may vary slightly from the photo shown here but we have checked the ones we have in stock and they all and they appear to be almost exactly the same.
These puzzle boxes are handmade in Japan by a craftsman using traditional methods. It is very difficult to get these larger 6 sun Japanese puzzle boxes. They are very difficult to make because for them to work well they depend on a series of complicated sliding movements that can easily be affected by both environment and workmanship. If the box is too loose it will be easier for the puzzler to find the way to open. If it’s too tight it may not be able to be opened at all. The number of skilled artisans trained in this traditional technique is very limited and once sold we can never be sure if this design can be restocked in future.
To open a Japanese Puzzle Box, you need to find the first panel that you can move, usually by sliding it side to side or up and down. This will then free up another piece to be able to move. And then another… and another…. until you’ve made all 36 moves in the correct order. Sometimes panels may be divided into sections so only part of a panel will move. This, and the accuracy of the workmanship and pattern, can make identifying each panel incredibly difficult.
Millions of people around the world have been introduced to trick opening Japanese puzzle boxes because of a strong export industry in Japan probably starting as far back as 1785. The year 1785 is the first known reference to a puzzle box in a Catel’s Catalog*; published in Europe in 1785 it is thought to be the first sales catalog that included puzzles ever found. But within a decade there were listings in the Adams & Co. catalog in Boston, USA for the Japanese Jewel-Box and so the trade took off. That listing stated Genuine Japanese Manufacture just as this listing does. We import the boxes directly from Japan, made by craftsman trained in Japan, just as they did back at the end of the 18th century. It just proves that quality made products endure.
Size: 6 Sun Actual size outside: 185mm x 125mm x 95mm Space inside: 132mm x 105mm x 65mm Space inside extra compartment is really only for paper or coins or something like that. Size: 140mm x 80mm x 3mm
Packaged cellophane wrapped inside a pressboard gift box with a solution inside.
We will also provide a small silicone mat which we find to be very helpful to move some of the panels. Then boxes are made quite firmly fitting so that with use over time they do not become too loose. Some of the moves are such that the panels may be difficult to grip so we’ve found that this little mat is very useful. Not offered by other sellers.
*We acknowledge the work of Jerry Slocum, Dieter Gebhart, David Singmaster, Rik van Grol and others for the research they’ve done into puzzles, specifically Japanese puzzles and Catel’s Catalog in this case, so that we can understand a more accurate history of the puzzles we sell.