Skip to content

Chindogu - Umbrella Tie

Bill Jarrard's picture
Description: 

Kenji Kawakami is the inventor of the concept of Chindogu, the founder of the 10,000-member International Chindogu Society, and author of several books on Chindogu - The Japanese Art of the Unuseless.

Chindogu is a great example of Deliberate Creative Thinking, as the Chindogu inventor must adhere strictly to the Ten Tenets of Chindogu.

The Ten Tenets of Chindogu

1. A Chindogu cannot be for real use
 
It is fundamental to the spirit of Chindogu that inventions claiming Chindogu status must be, from the practical point of view, (almost) completely useless. If you invent something which turns out to be so handy that you use it all the time, then you have failed to make a Chindogu. Try the Patent Office.

 2. A Chindogu must exist

You're not allowed to use a Chindogu, but it must be made. You have to be able to hold it in your hand and think "I can actually imagine someone using this. Almost." In order to be useless, it must first be.

3. Inherent in every Chindogu is the spirit of anarchy

Chindogu are man-made objects that have broken free from the chains of uselessness. They represent freedom of thought and action: the freedom to challenge the suffocating historical dominance of conservative utility; the freedom to be (almost) useless.

4. Chindogu are tools for everyday life

Chindogu are a form of non-verbal communication understandable to everyone, everywhere. Specialised or technical inventions, like a three-handled sprocket loosener for drainpipes centred between two under-the-sink cabinet doors (the uselessness of which will only be appreciated by plumbers), do not count.

5. Chindogu are not for sale

Chindogu are not tradable commodities. If you accept money for one you surrender your purity. They must not even be sold as a joke.

6. Humour must not be the sole reason for creating a Chindogu

The creation of Chindogu is fundamentally a problem-solving activity. Humour is simply the by-product of finding an elaborate or unconventional solution to a problem that may not have been pressing to begin with.

7. Chindogu is not propaganda

Chindogu are innocent. They are made to be used, even though they cannot be used. They should not be created as a perverse or ironic comment on the sorry state of mankind.

8. Chindogu are never taboo

The International Chindogu Society has established certain standards of social decency. Cheap sexual innuendo, humour of a vulgar nature, and sick or cruel jokes that debase the sanctity of living things are not allowed.

9. Chindogu can never be patented

Chindogu are offerings to the rest of the world - they are not therefore ideas to be copyrighted, patented, collected and owned. As they say in Spain, mi Chindogu es tu Chindogu.

10. Chindogu are without prejudice

Chindogu must never favour one race or religion over another. Young and old, male and female, rich and poor - all should have a free and equal chance to enjoy each and every Chindogu.

 

(Excerpted from "101 Unuseless Japanese Inventions" by Kenji Kawakami; published 1995 by W.W. Norton & Co., NY).  Available on Amazon.com. 

Read our Blog on Chindogu.

Creative Commons license icon
This work is licensed under a Attribution Share Alike Creative Commons license