"Everything which would ordinarily go into the waste paper basket after use"

The Japanese jigsaw

Totoro jigsaw

This is great. A Japanese jigsaw puzzle of the catbus from the animation movie My Neighbour Totoro. It’s a 150 piece puzzle measuring only 15x10cm so each piece is only about 1cm wide, and yet the print detail is remarkable.

Totoro jigsaw piece

Japanese printers are the masters of exceptionally fine print, capable of reproducing typographical characters at an almost impossibly small size. This can be seen not only on the jigsaw but also the box which measures just 6.5x9cm and features a lot of text and design elements. It’s odd to see a box on which the bar-code is practically the biggest design element, and it’s no bigger than usual – it’s just that everything else is really small.

Jigsaw box

Those susuwatari or soot sprites printed in a border of leaves and acorns are very tiny indeed and yet the detail is fine and precise, at least when viewed under a magnifier. This is not printed on fine glossy stock either but rather uncoated board. The control and accuracy is amazingly skilful.

This particular jigsaw and box is produced by Artbox which is part of the Amada printing company based in Soka City which has been operating since 1938 and making puzzles under the Artbox brand since 1986. The company specialises in paper-based toys and puzzles which are marketed under the Ensky brand – its online shop is well-worth checking out as an example of Japanese anime merchandising. As well as jigsaws, it also offers a range of Totoro origami figures which are very cute.

As the president of Amada Printing says (via Google translator), “It is help you to send a little fun and living a dream.”


shredded paper

Leave a Reply