Essays & Articles


101 Unuseless Japanese Inventions: The Art of Chindogu.

Every Chindogu is an almost useless object, but not every almost useless object is a Chindogu. In order to transcend the realms of the merely almost useless, and join the ranks of the really almost useless, certain vital criteria must be met. It is these criteria, a set of ten vital tenets, that define the gentle art and philosophy of Chindogu.

So begins the creed of Chindogu, a collection of weird and wacky inventions from Japan, guaranteed to be almost practical, but useless. (Inventions that turn out to be useful are taken off the list). For me, this is the perfect accompaniment to Carelman’s “Impossible Objects.”

Also see the sequel, Kawakami, K., & Papia, D. (1998). 99 more unuseless Japanese inventions: the art of Chindogu (1st American Ed.). New York N Y: W.W. Norton & Co. They also have a website: The chindogu website.

Pointer to the book at