October 31, 2007

Oguro Saburo Is The Hardest-Working Man In The Japanese Jigsaw Puzzle Business

oguro_hippo_puzzle.jpg

After finding his hina matsuri puzzle dolls yesterday, I wanted to see more of Oguro Saburo's intricately modern work. Be careful what you wish for, the guy is a puzzle-making machine. If the jigsaws and wood planks ever rise up against their human oppressors, Oguro's is gonna be the head on the chopping block.

I was already high on sweet puzzle endorphins when I saw the hippo and babies puzzle above [5,250 yen, there's a dozen of them]. And then I realized Oguro's site, U-Plan, didn't have 129 toys left, but 129pages of toys, six per page. Throw in the DIY kits and the books of design templates, and there's over 1,000 SKU's. Some sweet spots:

oguro_samurai1.jpg

This samurai warrior is pretty amazing. At 21,000 yen, it's heirloom-priced, but it does come in that nice, custom-fit, lacquered box, which can be used as a display stand.

oguro_tetris_animal_blocks.jpg

Enzo Mario Brothers? There's a whole series of these Tetris-shaped animal blocks, in different sizes and woods, which can fit flat or form cubes. Fortunately, they don't disappear; the cheapest set is 6,300 yen.

oguro_oni.jpg

The most spectacular Oguro work, though, may not actually be a puzzle. It's a giant Oni family set, red and blue devils roasting a pig on a spit and having a grand old time. Unfortunately, I didn't realize I'd pulled out the small version; each oni is just 5cm tall, so the whole thing's a massive choke hazard. And if the small one's 28,000 yen, I don't even want to know what the large set costs.

Oguro has designed a few puzzles for Naef [he's credited as Sabu Oguro], but as far as I can tell, his work is not really sold in the non-kanji-based world.

Visit Ogura Saburo's company, U-Plan. The catalogue's the second icon from the top on the left. [u-plan.jp]
Buy Oguro's template books at Amazon JP [amazon.co.jp]

3 Comments

I love these! And my mom's in Japan right now ...

I cannot speak or read Japanese but was given a book almost entirely in Japanese except for some captions. In one place I saw the name "SABU OGURO" . which led me to this site where I was greatly enlightened and now have a better understanding of the book which has about 230 pages with colored and black &white pictures and very many wonderful patterns which I can cut with A Scroll Saw

Fox Chapel Publishing has published Oguro's work in the States.

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