There are those who date the dawn if our species at the invention of the first tool. Perhaps mankind can be said to have originated the moment that a certain hairless and ambitious ape threw a stone at a deer and turned the tedious task of chasing and killing into a far less loathsome chore.
The primitive tools that have since punctuated the process of our so-called civilization - at least according to the history books - were all to some degree more advanced than the previous ones. Be we can suppose that for every inspired notion that advanced the human situation, there must have been at least as many duds; ideas for improvement that didn't quite work. Another hairless ape, for example, maybe the brother-in-law of the first tool-making human, might have grown tired of eating deer and envisioned a huge hill-sized boulder flying through the air and downing a nice thick wooly mammoth, only finally decide that the rock would be too hard to throw and the whole operation certainly more trouble than it was worth. You'd have to roll it up a mountain, wait for the right chance, hope the beast wouldn't move...
It is this second sort of idea - just as noble but fruitless and until now less appreciated - that the art of Chindogu was conceived to celebrated. The Japanese word, Chindogu, literally means an or distorted tool - faithful representation of a plan that doesn't quite cut the mustard.
The successful Chindoguist approaches his subject in much the same way that a serious inventor would: searching for an aspect of life that could somehow be rendered more convenient and concocting a method for making it so. Like the inventor, he discards those notions that clearly miss the mark, but unlike the inventor, he also abandons those ideas that will obviously work. The Chindoguist latches onto and builds a prototype of the best idea he can come up with that looks good at the onset, but on closer examination isn't. Having tested and verified that it indeed wasn't worth the effort, the creator of the Chindogu will then congratulate himself on having successfully produced an almost useful implement.
Chindogu are inventions that seem like they're going to make life a lot easier, but don't. Unlike joke presents built specifically to shock or amuse, Chindogu are products that we believe we want - if not need - the minute we see them. They are gadgets that promise to give us something, and it is only at second or third glance that we realize that their gift is undone by that which they have away.
They are funny because they are paradoxical and they are funny because they fail, but Chindogu are not designed to be stupid for the sake of stupidity. To believe this would be a grave error. They are exactly what we've always longed for without actually realizing it; they are inventions that do a job, satisfy a need; they are everything it takes to bridge the distance between what we are and what we could be... almost.
Unlike the hungry simian with his unfulfilled craving for mammoth meat, we children of the prosperous twentieth century have the luxury of being able to build that which we can't really use. Separated from the realm of practicality and profits, from the constraints of utilitarian application, they can take us into a new and spectacular world of human invention whenever we are lonely, angry or depressed. All we have to do is adhere to the ten tenets of Chindogu to unsure that the purity and integrity of the discipline is maintained, and the process of encouraging and preserving the almost inspired and nearly brilliant becomes an instinctive way of life. We can scarcely look at a coffee cup without wondering whether another handle would make it twice as easy to pick up (and, if so, shouldn't ten more increase the convenience tenfold?). Chindogu lends an ever present quality of anarchy to even our most common concerns and a new dimension to our earthly existence.
In simple 1990's term, the practice of Chindogu is like a Jurassic Park for those less fortunate of man's labor-saving dreams and schemes. The International Chindogu Society protects and nurtures those ideas that technological evolution would otherwise doom to extinction so that we can, at our leisure, observe them, admire them and enjoy them.
I hope this website will help you, too, to take part in take pleasure from this new and exciting idea for of non-verbal communication.