Chindongu - The Art Of (Un)Useless Inventions


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Kenji Kawakami has been inventing unusual things since he was a teenager. In high school he built a cart-like device from salvaged scooter parts. While In College, he built a glider bicycle that didn't fly. However, his creative juices really got flowing in 1980, when he came up with the art of inventing un(useless) things.

It all began as a joke. In 1980, Kenji who was an editor for a popular home shopping magazine decided to include some absurd inventions like duster slippers for cats. He got such an overwhelming response that he realized he had tapped an interest is inventions that solve real-life problems, but are so inconvenient to use that they are useless - hence the term (un)useless or as he likes to call them - Chindogu or strange tools.

A good example of this is the Hay Fever Hat, a strap-on roll of toilet paper that provides allergy sufferers with an unlimited supply of tissue.

Or how about the gadget that makes putting eye drops a piece of cake! One of his more 'practical' and fun ones is attaching a mop-like material onto infant clothes, so that they can automatically mop the floor whilst crawling.

At a busy intersection with no pedestrian crossings? Not a problem, Kenji has created a portable one. Just roll it out and cross the road. And if you need some help getting out of bed in the mornings, he has an alarm clock with a very slim 'snooze' button at the top - surrounded by spikes so hitting the 'snooze' button may have not quite result in more sleep! And the list goes on. Over the last 20 years, he has come up with over 700 Chindogus, which have been published into 3 best-seller books.

While the inventions sound all about fun, some strict rules about what constitutes one apply, among which are, that while they should be tools for everyday life, they should not be for real use and cannot be sold.

Kenji has millions of fans all over the world, and a reputation that ranges from being an entertainer (Japan and America ) to a modern artist (Europe ) to a scientist (Korea, Australia and Canada ) Whatever you view him as, you have to admit he does come up with some great ideas!,,

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  • .Tuesday, May 22, 2018 at 12:01 pm
    • somegirlWednesday, June 1, 2016 at 11:05 am
      oh my, that stuff is crazy and awesome. How did I not know about this stuff?!
      • ...Wednesday, June 1, 2016 at 11:04 am
        I can't believe this really exist's I mean so cute really?!
        • rc99130
          rc99130Wednesday, December 2, 2015 at 10:58 am
          wow just wow
          • walton4
            walton4Thursday, November 12, 2015 at 8:24 am
            • turtlenicole
              turtlenicoleThursday, March 12, 2015 at 7:52 pm
              LOVE it!! All of them are so creative and fun:)
              • cats123
                cats123Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 6:02 am
                hey anyone know what the last one is
                • cats123
                  cats123Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 6:00 am
                  hey anyone know what the last one is
                  • juanTuesday, February 24, 2015 at 6:27 am
                    • nikukyu
                      nikukyuSunday, February 22, 2015 at 11:35 pm
                      Lol is it weird that I think all of these are so amazing and smart? Just me? Oh, okay:(
                      • flyingpig12345
                        flyingpig12345Tuesday, May 5, 2020 at 9:20 am
                        I know right
                        • crystalmori
                          crystalmoriMonday, February 23, 2015 at 6:32 pm
                          No, not just you. Am I the only one un-trendy enough to actually wear that umbrella hat?