The Japanese say they invented it, but maybe they were just the first to name it. The name, Chindogu, is becoming universally known and used to describe inventions that are useless. Well, I don't know about Ben Franklin or Thomas Jefferson or the prolific inventor Leonardo da Vinci, but haven't most inventors created some useless stuff? In fact, mostly useless stuff?
But, let me make this right. There are tenets of Chindogu; it is not usually accidental. And it is not an invention that was turned down for a patent. It is the conscious effort to make something that works but has no worth. Like these examples of Chindogu, below:
1. Chopstraws Chindogu
These hollow chopsticks let you eat your noodles and sip your soup.
Chindogu: Chopstraws (Hollow Chopsticks): via chindogu.com
2. Chew Counter or Auto Masticalculator Chindogu
Chindogu: Chew Counter aka Auto Masticalculator: via chindogu.com
3. Magnetic Slippers Chindogu
For the very anal, the click together magnets make your shoes line up straight in your closet. (This looks like a poorly photo-shopped image, but you get the idea.)
Chindogu: Magnetic slippers: via chindogu.com
4. Manicurium or Hand Care Tank Chindogu
A hypoallergenically-sealed manicure environment, so fingernails won't fly out and dust won't land on your newly polished nails.
Chindogu: Manicurium (Hand Care Tank): via chindogu.com
At this writing, the Dunedin, New Zealand Fringe Festival is still alive
and kicking, in Dunedin, of course. For the second year, Chindogu is
one of the events. Here, for example, is one of the Chindogus from this year's Festival.