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Country of origin Japan
Running time15 minutes
Production company(s)NHK
Original networkNHK
Audio formatStereo
Original releaseApril 9, 2002 (2002-04-09) – present
External links

PythagoraSwitch (ピタゴラスイッチ, Pitagora Suitchi) is a 15-minute Japanese educational television program that has been aired by NHK since April 9, 2002. It encourages augmenting children's "way of thinking" under the supervision of Masahiko Satō (佐藤雅彦) and Masumi Uchino (内野真澄). A five-minute format called PythagoraSwitch Mini is also available.

During the beginning and ending of each episode, and between each corner (segment), there are Pythagorean Devices (ピタゴラ装置, Pitagora Sōchi). "Pythagorean device" is the equivalent Japanese colloquialism for the U.S. "Rube Goldberg machine" and British "Heath Robinson" contraption. The main focus of the program is a puppet show, but the subject is mainly advanced by the small corners. World phenomena, principles, characteristics, and the like are introduced in an entertaining way. At the end of each segment "Pitagora Suitchi" is sung as a kind of punchline.


In the show, segments are called "corners".

Today's Topic[edit]

A puppet show in which Grandpa Encyclopedia (百科おじさん, Hyakka Oji-san) explains the structure of the world to the young penguins Pita and Gora. A recurring situation is that, while discussing each topic, Encyclopedia would often say "The details are on my Nth page", to what the Penguins, after looking said page, respond "We're children, so we can't read..." After that, the three call upon Televi-John (テレビのジョン, Terebi no Jon) an anthropomorphic dog-like TV, who shows them a video about the topic. A mouse called Suu is also featured.

Pythagora Devices[edit]

Pythagora Devices (ピタゴラ装置, Pitagora Souchi) are frequently featured.

Algorithm Exercise[edit]

A corner broadcast since 2002. It stars the duo Itsumo Kokokara. It is algorithm themed, so that the movements that are done side by side are related ("crouching motion" combines with "shaking arms", so that the arms avoid the action, etc.). Usually, the duo does the exercise with special guests, such as NHK announcers, baseball players, sumo wrestlers, etc.

There are also individual versions for each member: the "Yamada version" and the "Kikuchi version".

Algorithm March[edit]

Otou-san Switch[edit]

A segment in which a father and his child act out sequences and play games based on any of the Japanese letter sounds.

Other Corners[edit]

  • Framy (フレーミー, Furēmī): Animated shorts about a dog named Framy, who is made out of clear squares. Other characters that are composed of simple figures, but they are not transparent.
  • 10-Stick Anime (10本アニメ, 10-Pon Anime): Ten small sticks join together and transform into various things.
  • Pythagora Equipment Academy (ピタゴラ装置アカデミア, Pitagora Sôchi Akademia): This segment teaches how to make gadgets and gimmicks included in Pythagora Devices.
  • Today's Switch (今日のスイッチ, Kyō no Suitchi): In a certain place, a start switch is pressed in a machine, which introduces something happening.
  • Today's Robot (今日のロボット, Kyō no Robotto): A segment which introduces various robots (mainly work robots).

  • Botejin (ぼてじん, Botejin): A potato shaped like a dice (voiced by Iwao Nozomi) moves forward and backward and to the left and right in the tiles drawn on the ground, with words written on each side of him. He can move even if he is out of the tiles.
  • Do your best! Product Test (がんばれ!製品テスト, Ganbare! Seihin Tesuto): This segment introduces the stages of product testing before the shipment of industrial products.


Dankichi Kuruma (車だん吉), Jun Inoue (井上順), and Tsuyoshi Kusanagi (草彅剛), are some of the voice actors who perform and call out the topics.


Outside Japan, NHK World Premium broadcasts PythagoraSwitch Mini. Starting April 2015, an English version of PythagoraSwitch Mini has been broadcast on NHK World TV. In Brazil, TV Cultura is broadcasting it with the title Viva Pitágoras. In addition, some PythagoraSwitch videos are also available on Google Video, YouTube and DailyMotion.


At the 30th Japan Prize International Educational Program Contest, in 2003, episode 25 "Let's Look at It Another Way" won top prize, the Prime Minister's award, of the Early Education category.[1] At Prix Jeunesse 2004 in Munich it won top prize in the age 6 and below non-fiction category.[2]


External links[edit]