The puzzles offered by Yanoman are spherical ones. They reproduce astronomical objects from detailed data obtained by probes. Their production is supervised by the space artist Kagaya.
Q. “The main attraction of this type of puzzle is, it utilizes the characteristics of a sphere. What makes our astronomy series special is the high precision. The illustrations are based on observation data from probes. The Moon puzzle uses lunar topography as actually observed, and the Venus puzzle uses data obtained from Venus. Because these puzzles are round, they can’t be made just by transferring and cutting out. The pictures have to be adjusted, bearing in mind that they’ll be turned into curved surfaces, right from the beginning. That takes expert know-how.”
Compared with flat puzzles, spherical puzzles are very hard to assemble. They need to be built up bit-by-bit from the bottom. Usually, this is done by looking at a picture. But in these puzzles, each piece has a number on the back, so they can also be assembled using the numbers.
Q. “We’re Japan’s oldest manufacturer of puzzles. We figure flat puzzles alone aren’t that interesting, so, as a puzzle manufacturer, our dream was to make 3D ones.”
Other puzzles available include a globe without national borders, and the Earth Globe, which really helps people understand the Earth. Yanoman also sells Moon and Venus globes.
Q. “As an evolution of 3D puzzles, last September, we released a 4D puzzle. When you put this together, it becomes a city. And, as you can see over there, it can become a space shuttle, SkyTree, a 3D puzzle, or a strap.”