Find out how you can create the name of a prefecture simply by moving just one of these matchsticks.
If there’s one thing we love at RocketNews24, it’s a juicy brainteaser. In the past, we’ve been stumped by tricky mazes and visual surprises, but now it’s time to move on to a quiz that tests our knowledge of Japanese geography, our Japanese language skills, and our powers of object manipulation.
The question is simple: “Create the name of a Japanese prefecture by moving one matchstick.”
▼ To help jog our memories,
let’s take a look at the names of the 47 prefectures of Japan.
“But wait!” you may be thinking. “Shouldn’t we be looking at the map in Japanese?”
Not necessarily. Let’s take a moment to look at the question again. What we’re looking for is the name of a Japanese Prefecture, not necessarily the kanji for it.
If you’d like a hint to help you crack the puzzle, this means it doesn’t have to be written in kanji. It could be written in katakana, hiragana, or perhaps even English.
Have you found the name of the prefecture hidden within those six matchsticks yet? If not, don’t fret – it’s tougher to find than it sounds!
One final clue would be to consider the way that Japanese is traditionally written. Unlike English, which reads horizontally from left to right, Japanese can be read vertically, from top to bottom. That means there’s a possibility that we should look at the six matchsticks from a different angle, with one of them then moved to form a word in kanji, hiragana, katakana or English.
▼ Can you see the name of the Japanese prefecture hiding in there now?
The final clue we’ll give you for this one is that the first three matchsticks don’t need to be moved. So by moving one of the final three matchsticks, the name of the prefecture should appear.
If you’re ready to put an end to the brain gymnastics and finally solve the puzzle, scroll down for the answer…
The answer is Mie Prefecture!
By rotating the image and moving the fifth matchstick, the word ミエ (Mie) appears in katakana. It wasn’t an easy puzzle to crack, but we finally got there in the end!
If you’re wondering where this brainteaser originally came from, it was actually born from the mind of Shinpei Takahashi, a member of Japan MENSA, whose fun math puzzles have stumped us in the past. Takahashi is also a toy designer who’s developed a large number of products for Bandai, including Mugen Puchi Puchi, a handheld toy that recreates the joy of popping bubble wrap.
According to Takahashi, puzzles and games like these are an important tool for generating creativity and the flow of new ideas. So now you’ve finished your dose of brain gymnastics for the day, who knows what creative ideas you’ll uncover!
Related: Shinpei Takahashi
[ Read in Japanese ]