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101 Unuseless Japanese Inventions Paperback – January 1, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1st American Ed edition (January 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393313697
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393313697
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #217,369 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The author, Kenji Kawakami is well-known in Japan for his creation and tireless promotion of "chingdogu" -- the art of the "unuseless idea." This book features the best of his inventions, inspired devices designed to solve all the nagging problems of domestic life, including ones you may not have realized you have. Reading this book is like exploring an alternate universe in which the 19th century inventors who shaped our lives had far too much time on their hands, and far too many plastic molds in their factories. Hilarious!

From Library Journal

Have you ever been tempted to go for a walk when you really needed to do the laundry? Well, now you can wash your clothes and get your daily exercise at the same time with "Walk 'n' Wash" ankle-attachable laundry tanks. Too busy to breastfeed the baby? The "Daddy Nurser" will let your husband or significant other share in the joys of motherhood. From Japan, land of the bullet-train and the Walkman, come chindogu (literally an odd or distorted tool), witty and whimsical inventions that are almost useful but not quite. Kawakami, founder of the International Chindogu Society, outlines the basic ten tenets of chindogu; among them: they cannot be for real use; they must exist; and they are without prejudice. His book is much like the 101 objects it displays, an "unuseless" purchase but a delight in itself.
Wilda Williams, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 8, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Some say that laughter has curative properties. I highly recommend this book as a gift for sick people. I enjoyed it so much myself that I gave a copy to a friend in the hospital for major surgery, warning her not to read it until her stitches could bear the strain of laughing, and it was a tremendous hit. I am ordering more now for other ill friends. None of the inventions are commercially viable; the book says that if any should come on the market, they will be removed from the "chindogu" list. Nevertheless, there is a certain silly logic to them that makes most of them hilarious.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Sarah on September 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
I like the Chindogu concept as much as I like the inventions themselves! Before reading, please read the 10 Tenets of Chindogu!
From time to time, it's good to see people who are willing to make a huge effort for absurdity's sake. Even the text is painstakingly worded to maximize the humor of each invention--I ate up the words like they were sushi.
If you are the kind of person who is into prop conversation pieces, this is a good addition if you don't already have it. Perfect for rescuing yourself from awkward moments, as well as delighting others with many hysterical laughs. And I wonder how many true "useful" inventions have been born out of contemplating these "unuseless" ones? (Probably not TOO many!)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gontroppo on April 21, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is the funniest one on our shelves. The pictures and text are hilarious. It is great to get it out every now and again and laugh yourself silly.
My descriptions will not do the book justice [you will need to see the pictures to appreciate what I am saying], but here are a few of my favourite unuseless inventions featured in the book:
Duster Slippers for Cats [socks for your cat, with little mops attached, so that the cat dusts the floor as it moves around]
The Backscratcher's T Shirt [which has a grid on it so that you can tell people exactly where to scratch]
The Hydrophobe's Bath Body Suit [so that you can have a bath without getting wet]
The Heavy Smoker's Mask [so that you can smoke 14 cigarettes at once]
Highly recommended
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By Mom's Shelf on July 30, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is just hilarious! The first time I've found something similar to this book was in 1999 at a science centre in Vancouver, BC. Got on the bus and took a look at it with my children. I laughed so hard until I cried and everyone on the bus was looking at us. I you are in need of laughter, I highly recommend it.
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Format: Paperback
This is a great book that lists 101 un-useless inventions (aka: Chindogu, '¿"¹<ï). A Chindogu is an invention that did not get any sales (except for the finger toothbrush and soap recycler), due to various reasons. Some of the inventions are funny (and that's why I liked this book), like the noodle-cooling fan to cool Ramen noodles that are too hot or cockroach-swatting slippers that can extend to kill cockroaches. Some inventions are actually practical (like hand-protecting fake silicone hand for cutting food with a sharp knife or lipstick seal to prevent staining for females who wear lots of lipstick), whereas some aren't practical (like ice-stopping nets that prevent ice cubes from touching lip and nose (since you can use a straw) and the heavy smoker's mask that allows you to smoke 14 cigarettes at once (since it wastes expensive cigarettes and does not make up for the cigarettes you didn't smoke so well)).
Therefore, if you like a style of humour similar to YouTube fail videos and such and such should consider buying this book and spreading this book around.
KM
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 11, 1998
Format: Paperback
I love this book, if your interested in the japanese or like inventions of many things this book is for you! some of the coolest things out there are in this book, you should check it out yourself. its really worth it
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 12, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book is so hillarious. I love it! It can really cheer you up
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