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Nob Yoshigahara (1936-2004)

The Legendary Puzzle Creator

In this article, we take a look at one of the most famous puzzle creators of recent history: Nob Yoshigahara!

Nob Yoshigahara (full name Nobuyuki Yoshigahara) was a brilliant mechanical and mathematical puzzle inventor from Japan. A legend in the world of puzzles, he designed numerous puzzles and penned over 80 books on puzzles during his lifetime.

One of his most famous math puzzles that you may have come across looks like this:

The numbers in each node have been filled in based on a certain rule. According to this rule, what number should go into the orange node?

An applied chemistry graduate from the Tokyo Institute of Technology, Nob went on to become a high school mathematics and chemistry teacher. At the same time, he was also writing articles about puzzles for different magazines. For his contributions to the global puzzle community, Nob was invited to the International Puzzle Party (IPP) forum, a place for puzzle enthusiasts to meet and exchange mechanical puzzles, books, games etc. with each other. In 2003, Nob was awarded the Sam Lloyd Award for his outstanding work over the past decades.

Though he is no longer around, his legacy still lives on. The Nob Yoshigahara Puzzle Design Competition, held concurrently with the IPP, was named in memory of him. This competition celebrates innovative mechanical puzzle designs from all over the world.

Some of his best-known puzzles include Cast Elk , Cast News and Rush Hour.* For a more comprehensive list of Nob’s puzzles, check out this article on the Metagrobiologist here.

A genius when it came to puzzles, Nob was also fondly remembered by those closest to him as being passionate about one other thing: drinking! 🍷

*If you wish to try out these puzzles, check out our class plans (we offer free trial classes on mechanical puzzles and science toys) and rental kits. Do contact us if you have any other queries!


Khollam, Amir. “Legendary Nob Yoshigahara's Mathematical Puzzle: Here Is How To Solve It.” RepublicWorld.Com. Published 9 April 2020.

Liu, Andrew C. F., George Sicherman, and Takayuki Yoshigahara. The Puzzles of Nobuyuki Yoshigahara. Problem Books in Mathematics. Cham, Switzerland: Springer, 2020.

“Nob Yoshigahara.” The Metagrobiologist. Published 4 January 2017.

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