A project by Kenji Kawakami

They say they’re just useless objects, invented for the sole purpose of making people laugh. But in the end, they wouldn’t be completely useless inventions but rather “unusual,” as suggested by the literary translation of the word chindōgu: unusual — 珍 chin — and tool — 道具 dōgu. The term was coined by Kenji Kawakami, a Japanese inventor and editor of the magazine Mail Order Life. Kenji himself said that a more appropriate translation is “weird tool”. Dan Papia then introduced it to the English-speaking world and popularized it as a monthly feature in his magazine, Tokyo Journal, encouraging readers to send in ideas.

Maybe some usefulness about these inventions may be due to the frenetic and anxious rhythm of our days. Simple acts, which were once real relaxed moments, as brushing their teeth, wearing make up, and even basic needs such as food and sleep, became a waste of time, as never before. So they’re not completely bits of genius but practical gimmicks making us smile, in the same way as we smile at all the misfortunes of mankind.

Anyway, it seems it is Mr Kenji himself to give an interpretation of Chindōgu, vaguely solemn and prophetic:

The planets formed. The Earth cooled. Creatures emerged and one of them started playing with rocks and sticks.
That creature made spears, he crafted shovels, he turned pelts into cloth. Then, he got fancy. He built the solar-powered flashlight and the combination table napkin/necktie. Not exactly useful, but somehow not altogether useless. He created inventions that didn’t quite work… But were nonetheless fun.
Chindogu was born.

2 Commenti su Chindogu

  1. Devo farlo vedere alla mia amica, così scegli il regalo per Natale. 😉

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