Thursday, April 2, 2020

10 Tenets of Chindogu Inventions

Chindougu is made up of two words. Chinmeans “curious” or “strange.”  Dougu means “tool” or “device.” “Strange device” doesn’t quite capture the entire meaning though. There’s an essence to chindogu that can’t be ignored. They need to be useful, but only just so. Something people could use, but probably won’t because of shame. They’re almost useful. Or “unuseless”…but always fun.

How can we distinguish real chindogu from the imitators? The device must adhere to the 10 tenets of chindogu set up by inventor Kenji Kawakami and the International Chindogu Society. Check out the society’s official website for their wording of the tenets (which is sometimes unclear). This is our interpretation of the laws.

1. CHINDOGU MUST BE (ALMOST) COMPLETELY USELESS

This is the utmost tenet. If your invention is a real help and you use it all the time, it’s not chindogu. Try selling it to the public because it could be worth millions. Too bad it has no soul.

2. CHINDOGU MUST EXIST

Chindogu have to be made. If you design the invention on paper and don’t make it, it doesn’t qualify. It’s a piece of paper with a bad invention on it. Bring the invention into the physical world so humankind can experience how truly almost useless it is.

3. CHINDOGU REPRESENT FREEDOM OF THOUGHT AND ACTION

Chindogu are free to be what they need to be. Normal devices are designed for efficiency, ease of use, and utility.

4. CHINDOGU’S USELESSNESS MUST BE UNDERSTOOD BY ALL

If you create a device that is only recognized as useless by people with certain knowledge sets (doctors, mechanics, biologists, etc.) then it is not chindogu.

5. CHINDOGU ARE NOT FOR SALE

If you accept money for your invention, it ceases to be chindogu. You have violated its spirit.

6. HUMOR MUST NOT BE THE SOLE REASON FOR MAKING CHINDOGU

Any humor derived from chindogu is a side effect. The invention must earnestly try and solve a problem. The roundabout and unconventional way it solves the problem is the source of the humor.

7. CHINDOGU ARE NOT PROPAGANDA

They are made to be used, even though they are (almost) useless. They are not, in and of themselves, a statement for any cause or philosophy.

8. CHINDOGU ARE NEVER TABOO

Chindogu inventions cannot be made to enact or represent cheap sexual innuendo, vulgar humor, or sick jokes that disrespect living things.

9. CHINDOGU CANNOT BE PATENTED

The invention must remain in the public domain. It must be free to use, re-create, and distribute. It cannot be copyrighted or owned.

10. CHINDOGU ARE WITHOUT PREJUDICE

Chindogu view all human beings as equal. Therefore, they can’t favor a race, religion, age group, gender, or class.



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