Ever heard of the term ‘Chindogu’? I hadn’t either, until about a week ago. This exotic sounding term refers to the “Japanese Art of Making Unuseless Inventions”. I know: “unuseless” isn’t a word that’s recognised in any English dictionary of repute. Anyway, Chindogu is the art of the absurd. It celebrates the best of Japanese inventiveness and, perhaps, their eccentricity. (An example of a Chindogu product is a butter stick which is like a Pritt Stick, but with butter in it, another is the hay-fever hat that is essentially wearing a toilet roll on your head – ’hat’ is a misnomer though - to stop you running out of tissues.) The Chindogu concept was created in the 1980s by Japanese amateur inventor Kenji Kawakami to describe objects that really do solve a problem… but something prevents them from being put into effective use (ie they are “unuseless”).
Well, if the Japanese can make “unuseless” products, we can make completely useless ones, as this video list of crazy inventions demonstrates. None of the inventions on this video would be accepted into Chindogu society though, as they violate several of the tenets of the Chindogu, including making shed loads of money, which is certainly not in keeping with the spirit of Chindogu. These inventions could have easily been laughed out of the park, but they actually went on to make millions and, yes, make people laugh. The video, by Top10 media, takes us through ten of the most bizarre, crazy inventions that embody the maxim that nobody ever went broke selling questionable objects to the public. Here’s the entire list, but watch the video to find out exactly how much money they made, and more importantly, how they did it.
The Top Ten
- Pet rock: a rock decorated with googly eyes and sold as a ‘pet’. People bought that, and they bought it. Unbelievable but true.
- Snuggle: I’m a bit more sympathetic here, because I’ve got one of these. But then again I’m easily led.
- Plastic wishbone: words fail me, but a guy decided to make a whole load of plastic wishbones. And he made millions.
- Billy-Bob teeth: Yup, fake teeth. Teeth that make you look like an “inbred hillbilly”.
- Beanie Babies: Fill a sack with beans, give it a pair of funny ears, a cutesy name and simply wait for the money to roll on by.
- Tamagotchi: a bizarre electronic gadget with a function that enables you to clean up virtual excrement.
- Big Mouth Billy Bass: a fish (a bass?) on a block of wood. Supposedly a novelty toy; nevertheless, this should have been banned outright.
- Furby: a bizarre, hairy creature that took the toy market by storm. Even my son wanted to own one.
- Yellow smiley face: a yellow, smiley face design with the tagline, “Have a nice day!” Loved by Americans.
- Wacky Wall Walker: an odd, red, bug-like toy with sticky feet.
See Also: Dumbest Vehicle -Related Inventions
If your own efforts at innovation have been met with jeers of derision and cynicism, don’t despair. As these examples show, you may well have the last laugh.
What do you think about these inventions? Did you buy any of them? Let me know in the comments box below…