29+ Hilariously Innovative Japanese Inventions


| LAST UPDATE 08/15/2022

By Stanley Wickens

Japan has been surprising us with its out-of-the-box thinking for quite some time. Dubbed "chindogu," here's a list of some strange - yet handy! - inventions that seem to be pretty popular in the Asian country.

Octopus Hair Curler

We never knew getting one's hair curled could be such an operation. Apparently, in Japan, this invention is intended to make the project a whole lot easier. Just look at all those "tentacles" at work!

weird japanese inventions chindoguweird japanese inventions chindogu
Instagram via @leslie_tango

Those who understand the struggle of spending hours before a big event - or even just a regular day - perfecting each strand, just might find this Japanese invention pretty cool. Since curls are always in style, we can see how his giant octopus hair curler might come in handy.

Slimming Leggings

Exercising has several health benefits, including mental, emotional, and physical ones. Some people work out because they enjoy the activity - others don't like it as much and exercise only to stay trimmed. With this interesting invention, Japan has got this second group covered.

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Instagram via @japaosemfiltro

These unique compression leggings are designed to help people slim down in their sleep! They have segmented compression levels along the legs that are supposed to make them look slimmer. They also come in the form of knee socks for whoever prefers them.

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Dog Duck Muzzles

Our furry companions are a major source of entertainment for most of us. One popular activity that owners like to do is give their pets adorably funny makeovers. Sometimes this includes drawing on their faces or dressing them up. In Japan, a new invention is giving owners an additional option.

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Instagram via @prettyshake

This hilariously cute muzzle shaped like a duck beak is especially designed for dogs to wear. As if these little canines couldn't get any cuter! Owners usually put muzzles on their dogs to make them less threatening. The way we see it, there couldn't possibly be anything dangerous about a dog in a duck costume.

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Umbrella Locks

Umbrellas are a big thing in Japan - and not only on rainy days! In fact, in this country, it's not unusual to see people walking around on sunny days carrying umbrellas to shade them from the sun's harsh rays. Since the device is so popular, an additional invention was made to keep people's umbrellas safe in public places.

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Instagram via @iam_silv

With this cool invention, Japanese people no longer need to carry their folded umbrellas around indoors when they visit large stores, museums, and other buildings. This lock secures customers' umbrellas on racks in public places, so they don't have to worry about stolen belongings!

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Robotic Companions

Sometimes it's nice to have a little companion with us to keep us entertained as we go about our day. That's probably what this Japanese inventor had in mind when they created this mini-doll that can be dressed up and taken with its owner basically anywhere.

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Instagram via @roboroborobohon

A perfect example is this tiny doll in the picture above. Whoever took this photo probably never has to eat alone again. We love the cute T-shirt with an image of Piglet on it, along with the hat and shoes. Also, it looks about as wide as the cup placed beside it!

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Face Bibs

Almost everyone has spilled or dropped food on their shirt or lap at least once in their life. Thankfully, we have adult bibs and napkins we can use to protect our favorite outfits. But what about those cases where our hair decides to take a dive right into our plate of food when we're at the dinner table?

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Instagram via @nhatvudang

Well, Japan has thought of that too! This "face bib" is designed to hold back hair, earrings, or anything that can get in the way as we dig into our meals. They may look funny to wear, but they just might save a few people from an unfortunate dinner fiasco!

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Baby Formula Capsules

Taking care of infants is no easy task. One of the things to always make sure of is getting the right amount of baby milk formula in the bottle. And since it usually comes in powder form, we can imagine the mess that would result from preparing a child's lunch.

baby formula tablets Japanbaby formula tablets Japan
Instagram via @lindyinjapan

Luckily, a Japanese inventor came up with an idea that may help eliminate all the unnecessary work of measuring and cleaning up baby formula. Instead of being in the form of powder, this formula comes as a rather large tablet that parents can just drop into the bottle without too much thinking!

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Therapeutic Cushion

This next one is a bit of a strange invention, in our humble opinion. But for anyone who misses their pet while traveling or being away from home for a long period of time, this one may be somewhat comforting. It's a round, furry robot that looks like a cushion with a tail.

cat cushion japanese inventioncat cushion japanese invention
Instagram via @healthfoodieme

A bit bizarre for some, we know. But those who have pets know the struggle of missing their furry friend's little shenanigans around the house. We're not sure whether this one comes with a remote control, or if it travels around the house on its own, but either way, we're definitely intrigued.

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White Noise for the Bathroom

As their name suggests, public bathrooms are, well, public. That means a lot of what goes on in the stall can, unfortunately still be heard by those waiting on the other side of the door. But the Japanese have thought of this one, too! Here's how they've solved the problem.

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Instagram via @diyjobehari

Above is a little device that, when activated, lets out the sound of a toilet being flushed to make public bathroom visits more discreet. Ingenious. Not only can it be hung on the walls of a bathroom - as seen in the photo - but it can also be worn as a ring that can be taken anywhere!

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Head Umbrella

It's hard to leave the house in the rain, dressed in layers upon layers and carrying about a million things in hand - along with an umbrella. One cool Japanese invention we found frees one hand from the burden of having to carry the umbrella over our heads.

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Instagram via @sofiadagamba

As seen in the picture, a Japanese inventor decided to add a band to the umbrella that can be wrapped around a person's head to secure it in place. Like we said before, the Japanese are big on umbrellas. So it makes sense that we'd find more than one invention on this list dedicated to the device.

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Lavender Face Mask

The Japanese inventor who created these eye masks clearly understands the importance of beauty sleep. This Instagram user, named Tracy Ren'ee Louis, seemed beyond satisfied with this nifty little mask that looks like it could send all our troubles away.

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Instagram via @prettyinpinkbug

"Awesome Japanese inventions I wish we had in the US," began the caption on her Instagram post. And the first on her list was "heated lavender face masks to help you sleep." We couldn't imagine waking up to go to work after spending a night wearing these soothing masks.

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Magical No-Fog Mirrors

It's hard to see anything in the bathroom mirror for the first few minutes after we step out of a hot shower. Apparently, the struggle drove someone in Japan to come up with this idea of a mirror that doesn't fog in the middle - and now we can't stop wondering how it works.

mirror fog Japan inventionmirror fog Japan invention
Reddit via u/mdengler10

Apparently, the success of this seemingly magical mirror is all thanks to a thin electric heating mat on the back of the mirror. Normally, the mirror fogs up because its temperature is lower than its surroundings. But with the clever idea of the heating mat, foggy mirrors are no longer a problem!

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Toddler Seat for Bathrooms

Kudos to mothers and fathers who are able to use public restrooms while looking after their kids at the same time. Whoever invented this toddler seat for public bathrooms apparently understood the struggle, relieving parents from the burden of having to make their child sit still.

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Reddit via u/SDBJJ

The toddler seat is installed against the wall of a public bathroom, and it looks like any small toddler could fit in the seat with ease. If only this invention were a bit more popular across the world, it could be a total game-changer for parents of young children!

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Neck Fan

Japan is notorious for its summer heat and humidity which are almost enough to make anyone want to stay indoors for the entire summer. But whoever invented this neck fan apparently decided to find a more practical solution for the country's frustrating heat waves.

neck fan japanese inventionneck fan japanese invention
Reddit via u/Naytica

It almost resembles a pair of headphones that could be hung around a person's neck... but with a pair of mini-fans instead of speakers! That's definitely an easy way to avoid having a sweaty neck while walking around in the hot and humid weather. We hope it also comes in different colors to match outfits...

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Discreet Gum Disposal

It's happened to most of us - we're out having a good time with some friends but can't find a proper way to throw away the gum we've been chewing for the past hour. In Japan, that's not a problem people commonly have, all thanks to this brilliant invention.

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Reddit via u/tikuku

Inside the container of gum is a stack of small thin paper made especially for easier disposal of used gum. What an idea! With this invention, we're almost positive there's no used gum to be found anywhere under restaurant tables or on public transportation.

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Eyedrop Funnel Glasses

Eye drops are a pain in the...well, the eye. For some people, it's not that easy to aim the drops of clear liquid directly into their eyes. Some people may find themselves jerking their heads away or closing their eyelids shut at the very last second.

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YOSHIKAZU TSUNO / Staff via Getty Images

Luckily, the Japanese have just the right invention to help with that tricky situation. This pair of glasses comes with two small funnels that help lead the tiny drops of medication into people's eyes. That way, all we'd have to do is aim the bottle anywhere over the funnel - mission accomplished!

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Butter Slicer

Ah, buttered toast - the best thing since, well, sliced bread. But sometimes, it's hard to neatly cut a large stick of butter into smaller pieces, especially when the large when the cold butter is rock hard. The attempts usually leave us scraping shreds of the fatty substance using the blade of the knife.

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YouTube via Paolo fromTOKYO

The original stick of butter we then return to the fridge usually looks messy and uneven. But thanks to this Japanese invention, we no longer need to worry about it. The way it works is by pushing the slicer down on a stick of butter, after which it comes out in neatly and evenly sliced chunks.

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Texting "Thumbs"

Ever since we were first introduced to smartphones, we've only been watching those things grow larger and larger with every new model. And sometimes those screens get a bit to large for us to be able to swipe our thumbs across using just one of our hands.

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YouTube via chatpat toy tv

This fake thumb is another Japanese invention that has come to our rescue. It's simply worn over the thumb and acts as an extension that can reach across our large screen. Not only that, but it also comes with a precision knob that makes browsing easier.

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Square Watermelons

Japanese inventors seem to think of everything - all the way down to packaging their product. The mind behind this invention apparently thought packaging and distributing watermelons would be a lot easier if they came in the shape of a cube instead of a sphere.

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Koichi Kamoshida / Stringer via Getty Images

Square cages help contain Japanese watermelons as they grow so that they maintain a square instead of a circular one. The harvested melons are then placed into square boxes and shipped off to local stores. We have to say we'd probably still be shocked to see square-shaped fruits in our grocery stores, though.

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Robotic Chefs

Too many cooks? Not according to the Japanese! This invention is a robot designed to work alongside chefs in professional kitchens. And although it may seem like too many hands could cause chaos, it's actually quite the opposite with these handy (no pun intended) robots.

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Instagram via @tomotsuguinoue

For example, in the picture above, the machine can be seen sorting through french fries with its "hands." Thanks to the robot, human cooks in the kitchen can focus on other preparations that can't be done by the robot. That should help customers see their food arrive faster at restaurants!

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Toilet Paper Hat

We're not sure how we feel about this one - on the one hand, there's no doubt it could come in handy. But on the other hand... a hat to wear on our heads with a roll of toilet paper attached? Apparently, it's in style in Japan, even though the illustration below was part of a televised skit.

toilet paper hat Japantoilet paper hat Japan
YouTube via TodayOnline

The way it works is pretty simple: it functions just like any other roll of toilet paper, with the end right there - easy to grab - in case of a tissue-related emergency. Now all that's left is an idea for a portable waste bin for easy disposal of all the used tissues.

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Bubble Wrap Simulator

It's always pretty exciting to receive a package in the mail. But sometimes, equally exciting is the many sheets of bubble wrap that came in the box. Once we take out the fragile objects in the box, the one thing to do next is start popping that bubble wrap.

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Instagram via @i_mike_ip

But we're all familiar with the feeling of sadness that sweeps over us when we're almost finished popping the bubbles in the wrap. But thanks to this Japanese invention, people can now carry around a tiny square of unlimited bubble wrap fun. Also, the surprise sound effects seem intriguing...

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Shoe Umbrellas

Shoes can be a very important part of any outfit - and apparently, Japan knows this. That's why in the Asian country, not only are umbrellas for people's bodies an absolute must-have in every house, but mini umbrellas have also found their way onto shoes as well.

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Instagram via @unnecessaryinventions

The little umbrellas designed to protect shoes from rainy weather stand on the foremost area of the shoes and can be opened and closed depending on the need. It may look a bit funny to walk around with this accessory added to a pair of shoes in the U.S., but not in Japan!

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Silent Karaoke

We'll admit we kind of wish we could go around the house singing our herts out without the worry of our neighbors ever hearing. Once again, Japan has proven that it understands the struggle, and it has just the invention for us: silent karaoke microphones.

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Instagram via @ohado6ch

One Japanese inventor decided to create a silent microphone to allow some people to sing - or even speak - without being overheard by others. And it also probably relieved a lot of people from having to endure the sound of mediocre singing all the time. A win-win idea?

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Lap Pillow

The pandemic has introduced a lot of changes to the way we live our lives. For many people, one of these changes is the ability to spend time with loved ones. Several people found this reality to be very lonely. Luckily, this invention is here to help...

japanese lap pillow inventionjapanese lap pillow invention
YouTube via ONLY in JAPAN * GO

While this Japanese invention has been around for quite some time, we're sure it came in handy during recent lockdowns. The quirky cushion is particularly designed for those who like to rest on the laps of their loved ones. Honestly, our moods are feeling a little better just by looking at it.

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Toilet Tank Sink

Leave it to the Japanese to come up with a strange yet clever way to save water. Just to be clear, this isn't any ordinary sink because it's built on top of the...toilet supply tank? We're curious as to whether this is a common feature of toilets in Japan or if there are only a few of them.

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Reddit via u/Flupsy

Simply put, the idea is not to waste water that runs from the faucet while we wash our hands. It's not exactly the most sanitary water around, but it's certainly cleaner than toilet water. Instead of letting it go down the drain, it can be used to fill the toilet supply tank.

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Diagonal Crosswalks

Every one of us who's ever lived in a busy city has been there - having to cross two perpendicular streets to go to a place diagonally across from where we started. And although it may not seem like a big deal, it's certainly a pain for those trying to quickly catch a bus or train.

tokyo intersection Shibuya crossing tokyo intersection Shibuya crossing
Matteo Colombo via Getty Images

As seen above at the famous Shibuya Crossing, Japanese streets have a unique feature that relieves pedestrians from that particular hustle. Instead of crossing two streets and waiting for the green sign for pedestrians each time, citizens can opt to take the diagonal crosswalk available to them on intersecting streets.

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Rotating Seats

The unique seats on Japan's trains aren't something found on an ordinary metro or bus in the United States. Instead, these chairs actually have the ability to rotate to either face another pair of chairs or have their backs to them, depending on the passenger's situation.

Japan train rotating seatsJapan train rotating seats
YouTube via Bruno Stévant

When traveling in a group of four, for example, the seats can be rotated so the entire group faces one another. However, a pair traveling solo might opt not to face any other passengers. A pretty cool idea, now that we think of it - why not have the option?

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Helmets for Ponytails

People with long hair know the struggle of not knowing what to do with their ponytails whenever they try to put on a helmet or hat of any sort. Luckily, thanks to the creative thinking of the person behind our next Japanese invention, there may be a solution after all.

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Instagram via @oliver261929

This helmet is not like others of its kind - it comes with a hole in the back, just big enough to fit a ponytail through it, so it doesn't get awkwardly smashed against our skulls. And thankfully, as we can see in the picture, it doesn't compromise the final appearance of the person wearing it.

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Dented Cans

People who have either very large fingers or long nails may know the struggle of trying to open a can of soda with no success. Well, the person who came up with this next idea was either a victim of these situations or was very sympathetic towards anyone who was.

dented can Japan inventions dented can Japan inventions
Reddit via u/MisterTwo

The can in the picture comes with a small dent under the tab which creates enough space to fit the tip of the finger under. Then the tab can easily be bent over towards the other side to open the can. Honestly, we don't know why all cans aren't made like this. Gotta love Japanese inventions!

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