What is Chindogu?

Chindogu is brilliant. It is the Japanese art of inventing ingenious everyday gadgets that, on the face of it, seem like an ideal solution to a particular problem. However, Chindogu has a distinctive feature: anyone actually attempting to use one of these inventions ends up discovering that it causes so many new problems, or such significant social embarrassment, that effectively it has no utility whatsoever.  Chindogu roughly translates to mean “weird tools.”

Like these eyeglasses, which funnel eye drops straight into your eyes.imageOr an alarm clock, that has a snooze button sitting between a bed of sharp pins.

Or a telephone dumbbell.

As Kenji Kawakami, inventor and founder of the International Chindogu Society, says, “A Chindogu is a tool that is excessively inconvenient when used. If it’s convenient, it’s not Chindogu. If it’s really inconvenient, then it’s a great Chindogu!”

What I find so fascinating about Chindogu is that, in its own humorous way, it makes us more aware of people’s unmet needs. While the Chindogu solutions are often both ridiculous and hilarious,  somewhere along the way there is an insightful truth being revealed.

I can’t say I understand everything that’s going on in this video, but there is definitely a lot of Chindogu action!

Utlimately, Chindogu is all about seeing the world with fresh eyes.  As advertisers, whether we’re creatives, producers or planners, we could all use a little more Chindogu in our lives.

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