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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  • wildpeep
    wildpeepSunday, February 22, 2015 at 5:17 pm
    Hey, Anybody know what the 1st one is?
    • crystalmori
      crystalmoriMonday, February 23, 2015 at 6:33 pm
      Some sort of guard for messy eaters, I suppose
    • ????Friday, February 6, 2015 at 6:50 am
      • shwagFriday, January 16, 2015 at 6:18 am
        i like the hay fever hat
        • duckiecatc
          duckiecatcFriday, October 17, 2014 at 9:14 am
          Those look ridiculous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
          • kateylolzsup
            kateylolzsupFriday, October 17, 2014 at 6:30 am
            Omg why is that so cool?!?!
            • IsaaccMonday, October 13, 2014 at 12:43 pm
              • DavidThursday, October 9, 2014 at 11:07 am
                • DocThursday, October 9, 2014 at 11:00 am
                  • bwThursday, September 11, 2014 at 11:16 am
                    • epicplant2
                      epicplant2Tuesday, April 1, 2014 at 7:06 am
                      Weird but cool