Skip to main content

The Big Bento Box of Unuseless Japanese Inventions

Kenji Kawakami, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (Editor), Dan Papia (Translated by)


List Price: 14.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


From the land of the rising sun, strangely practical and utterly eccentric inventions for a life of ease—and hilarity.

In Japan, Kenji Kawakami is famous for his tireless promotion of Chindogu: the art of the unuseless idea. Kawakami has developed an entire philosophy around these bizarre and logic-defying gadgets and gizmos, which must work but are actually entirely impractical. Created in the spirit of anarchy, unuseless inventions are not allowed to be patented or sold.

Fans of the unuseless will love this completely absorbing collection of 200 Chindogu, including:

  • the Drymobile (your laundry dries as you drive)

  • the Solar-Powered Torch (never runs low on batteries)

  • Duster Slippers for Cats (now the most boring job around the house becomes hours of fun—for your cat!)

  • Walk 'n' Wash Ankle-Attachable Laundry Tanks (a perfect solution for the problems of inadequate exercise and hygiene)

  • and many, many more.

These hilarious inventions have taken Japan by storm. Every one of the 200 items in The Big Bento Box of Unuseless Japanese Inventions has actually been manufactured to the highest standards, fully tested by pioneering members of the Japanese public, and documented in their unuselessness with photographs.

W. W. Norton & Company, 9780393326765, 320pp.

Publication Date: April 17, 2005

About the Author

Kenji Kawakami is the inventor of the concept of Chindogu and the founder of the 10,000-member International Chindogu Society.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is a celebrity chef, television personality, journalist, food writer, and "real food" campaigner. He promotes a back-to-basics philosophy with regards to cooking.

Dan Papia is a translator. He also heads the chapter of the International Chindogu Society based in Los Angeles.