Chindogu: Weird and Useless Japanese Inventions
October 19, 2009 | by shinigami

Ever come across an utterly bizarre invention and snapped your fingers looking for the right word to describe the oddity? Have no fear, an enterprising Japanese gentlemen called Kenji Kawakami has coined a term, Chindōgu, to classify this type of crazy innovations.


The term Chindōgu encompasses any invention which is so mind-bogglingly absurd that you forget about its actual practicality. So popular was this notion that Kawakami actually founded an organization around this theme called international Chindōgu society.

Defining a particular gadget as Chindōgu-worthy is harder than it looks. The Chindogu society dictates several tenets which must apply to the said invention.

This includes prerequisites like the invention being useless and the fact that it must be real and not just a concept. Furthermore, according to these rules, a Chindōgu is ideally created as an item for daily use.

Those who are curious about Chindogu can get a feel for this notion by checking out the list below.


The Baby Mop

Too much work to do around the house? Got an extra kid or two to keep an eye on? This gadget lets users keep track of their kids and get on with the household chores – the Baby Mop! A reference book explaining Chindogu might be recommended in case the neighbors call the social services.


Full Body Umbrella

Wishy-washy umbrellas and their inability to properly cover your attire is a thing of the past with this fancy device. Behold, the Full Body Umbrella, a run-of-the-mill umbrella conjoined with a lengthy plastic sheet. Headlights and sheet wiper blades are not included with this product.


Hay Fever Hat

Embarrassing hiccups involving sniffles and runny noses can be avoided with this product. Users no longer have to worry about being tissue-less in social situations. Given that the roll in question is a toilet roll, this gadget seems useful for outdoor camping events as well.


Noodle Cooler

This is the type of invention that overzealous office managers will love. With an easily attachable mini-fan, office workers can no longer blame hot noodle soup for dithering around during lunch hour.


Hair Ego Booster

Understanding that no all bald men have Jean-Luc Picard’s confidence, an ingenious inventor devised this ego booster for men. Now, men with shiny heads can stare into the mirror without bursting into tears.


Daddy Nurser

This one caters to all the fathers out there suffering pangs of breast envy. It lets the eager parents strap on breast-shaped feeding bottles and nurse their little one. However, with the creation of the man-bra, this invention might lurk in the fringes of the Chindogu genre.

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Shinigami (A. K. Goemans) is a Netherlands-based writer who is into horror movies, computer games and manga. She lived in different parts of Asia and Africa before settling down in the Netherlands.
  • Kenji Kawakami was featured regularly on a UK BBC kids show called "it will never work" might be "it'll never work", this was some 15+ years ago!!

  • Good Grief,Tell me it ain't so. I thought the Japaneese were much better inventers then us in the west. I suppose we all have a few loonie inventions in us.

  • why don't that jackass use a bottle instead of fake breasts!?

  • FYI: The definition of chindogu is that it is an "un-useless" object. That is, it's pretty much not useful but you could *almost* see the practicality of it. Put another way, it's *almost* a good idea but it's actually too inconvenient, ridiculous, embarrassing, etc to be used. Also, one of the rules is that, if it ever does go into production, it ceases to be a chindogu. See… for the full list of rules. BTW, I teach Japanese language and, every year, I have my students invent chindogu to showcase their understanding of Japanese culture. They come up with some pretty funny and nearly useful stuff!

  • Those are amusing. Here's another one you'll like: a CD of office sounds that home businesses play in the background to seem more established…

  • lol. i have to make one for my tech design course and to make up with one is harder than it looks!
    but it's lots of fun to think of everyday problems and somehow 'almost' solve it. :P

  • i have a book on chindogu. i think the glove- handy is cool pineapple //// pies upset me ;(

  • lol! it all funny :-D

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