Fun with the Yoshimoto cube

Video demonstration of a variation of the Yoshimoto cube, invented in 1971. Link includes a video on how to make one yourself out of paper, as well as an introduction to the Banach-Tarski paradox ("a pea can be chopped up and reassembled into the Sun").

Made up of eight interconnected cubes, it’s capable of unfolding itself in a cyclic fashion. That means you could keep folding, or unfolding it, indefinitely.

In the toy Brocoum’s mom bought him, the cubes were also cut into two identical polyhedra, each capable of forming a Yoshimoto cube containing a hollow space inside with the exact shape of another Yoshimoto cube “open” as as dodecahedron (several other shapes are also possible).

If that sounded somewhat complicated, the animated GIF on the right may illustrate the miracle of the multiplication of Yoshimoto cubes better. It’s simply that a solid Yoshimoto cube can unfold into two hollow Yoshimoto cubes.

Folding the Yoshimoto Cube


  1. OMG. I could spend some serious time with that thing. From whence might I obtain such a magical jewel? Move over, PSP/NDS.

  2. What the Banach-Tarski paradox, and indeed Quantum Mechanics itself, point to is the gap between the Symbolic and the Real.

  3. You know what would be even more awesomer? If the two cubes folded out to form a total of four cubes! And then those cubes folded out to become eight cubes! After a while, the universe would ALL CUBES!

    Oh my god! The time-cube dude was right!

  4. I had one of these as a child. I got it at a local carnival, using the tickets I won from games. Mine was all Red on the outside, and the inside was multicolored. There is actually quite a bit more you can do with these cubes.

    I used to make two different types of robots and a horse by folding and intersecting these two pieces. Of course, you may have to be a child to see the horse or robots for what I imagined them to be… but I held onto my cube until it eventually fell apart. I wonder if you can still buy these, with tickets, at carnivals?

  5. I’ve always loved the simple cube versions of this (eight cubes with selectively connected edges) that fast food places would give out as tie-ins to marketing campaigns. I got my first one when Star Wars episode 1 came out, and my daughter recently got one with a Dora the Explorer motif. I even got a variant once made of eight triangular prisms.

    I’ve never seen the version with a stellated rhombic dodecadron imbedded inside it. Geekgasm! Must. Have. (Actually more like: Must. Make.)

  6. @ Oskar, the Time Cube guy really is correct. What he is describing is just a different way of looking at things. He doesn’t like that however and gets upset at those who point out group theory can help explain what he means (four days in one day). He’s schizophrenic of course, hope he’s taking his meds.

  7. …I had one of these in 1972 when I was in 5th grade, but it didn’t break apart into two cubes. It simply allowed you to flip it inside out to change from a solid red cube to a solid blue cube. Is the twin cubes version a new variant on the original design?

  8. @Akuaa,

    I’ve got the Rubik Magic. I always thought it was called a Rubik Link, but whatever…

    And it’s the Master Edition on top of that. Never could solve the thing. I used to play with it on the bus all the time. Still works (as far as I know), even after 20 years…

  9. This has been used as advertising and marketing material for ages now… have seen quite a few over the past few years. It’s nice because it keeps you busy with an object that has a brand name or something on i…

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