Subscribe to our newsletter
The Japanese are known the world over for their ingenuity, their inventiveness and their love of the absurd. Chindogu is a concept that combines all of these things and it has hit the country, and recently the world, by storm. Created by amateur inventor Kenji Kawakami in the 1980s, Chindogu is the art of the absurd invention. It merges the Japanese love of the bizarre and the absurd with the genius and talent of the aspiring armchair inventor. Chindogu is perhaps best understood as a kind of contemporary sport, akin to Googlewhacking and peir-jumping. Being ultimately pointless there is no winner in this game, although there are some rules as set out by Kawakami.
The rules of chindogu are simple. A chindogu must be both useless and useful at the same time, chindogu must have a real purpose (other than making people laugh) but also be completely unusable. A real prototype of the invention must be made for it to be called chindogu. Unfortunately, the rules also state that chindogu are not to be sold, once used for commercial gain the artefact would no longer be chindogu but a commercially viable product. Chindogu are also not to be patented, but are instead to be considered a gift to the world. Fortunately many chindogu have been sold, albeit as novelty items, but they are rarely patented.
Since the birth of the craze in the 1980s the concept has become not only a national pastime but also part of the Japanese national identity. When we think of Japan we think of robots, sushi and the myriad of bizarre Japanese inventions. Here are some of the best.
The 10-in-1 Gardening Tool
The 10-in-1 Gardening Tool is the very essence of chindogu itself. Whilst clearly a good idea, and useful in a strange kind of way, it is entirely impractical, unusable and quite bonkers.
Personal Rain Saver
If you are worried that the world as we know it could come crashing down on our heads at any time, you might want to get your hands on one of these handy rain saving devices. Essentially an upside-down umberella, it collects water in an easy to carry tank. With the price of bottled water going through the roof and utility bills on the rise this could prove to be very useful, if you could bare the embarrassment that is.
The idea of a device that will allow you to sleep on the subway has become somewhat of a national obsession for the Japanese, with various inventors working on different ways to perfect the idea. The biggest problem facing anyone who falls asleep on the subway is, of course, missing his or her stop. For this reason, most subway sleepers are now designed with a message board attached, so that other passengers will know when to wake you. However, you have to ask yourself if relying on the kindness of strangers is really such a good idea.
Butter in a stick. Brilliant! Unlike most chindogu creations this one has a very clear and practical purpose. It will not only help to keep your butter fresh but will also make it easier to serve, eliminating the need for butter knives.
Robotic vacuum cleaners are all the rage at the moment. But who wants to spend all that money on a robot shaped like a cat bowl when you could have your cat or your baby do the cleaning for you instead. Attaching dusters to you cat’s feet seems like a good idea, but you have to ask yourself how much dusting a cat would really get done in a day. Surely it would just dust the same chair over and over again.
20 Bizarre Flavors of Food You’ll Find Around the World
People all over the world have different tastes in all sorts of things. Music, movies, television, politics, and so forth. And in some cases, it’s their actual tastes that vary...
20 of the Most Terrifying Things Kids Have Ever Said
Kids say the darndest things, as the old saying goes. They also say some of the most horrifying things, as well. Most of the time it’s just because they don’t know any better...
20 Creepiest Abandoned Hospitals From Around the World
Hospitals can be scary places. They’re sterile and often impersonal, and oh yeah, there are often people dying all around you. And let’s not even get into the fact that...
7 Weird Ways People Try to Get Drunk
People like their booze, and have for centuries upon centuries. It’s not a secret that basically as long as there have been human beings roaming the Earth, there have been human...
8 Ways Science Says Sex Is the Best Medicine
With a few odd exceptions, people love sex. Sex sells, people enjoy watching it, and more importantly, people enjoy having it. That’s because sex makes you feel good, and it...
10 Absolutely Baffling Celebrity Cameos in Music Videos
Believe it or not, music videos are actually things that still exist, despite the fact that channels like MTV would have you believe otherwise. Celebrities popping up in a music...
7 TV and Movie Side Characters That Deserve Their Own Spinoffs
One of the hardest things about writing fiction is coming up with interesting, fully developed side characters. After all, you can’t spend too much time on them because you...
8 Incredible Facts About Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones is an absolute juggernaut. There’s no denying it. Along with Walking Dead, you’d be hard pressed to find a television show that gets more online chatter that...
7 Books That Should Would Make Great TV Shows
With the return of the immensely successful and wildly popular Game of Thrones, it’s only natural to look at the bookshelf and imagine what books may have a chance to rival the...