Japanese Inventions that Are Equally Weird as they are Brilliant

Shannon Quinn - April 23, 2022

Japan is known for being a country filled with inventions. Today, a lot of our electronics and new innovations in technology are Japanese. So it only makes sense that there are plenty of inventions out there that never made it to mainstream culture. Here are some weird, but ultimately brilliant Japanese inventions.

The Japanese invention of a fan on chopsticks. Credit: ScoopNow

40. Chopsticks Fan

There’s nothing worse than making a bowl of Ramen, but it’s too hot to eat right away. The perfect solution to that problem is to have chopsticks with a fan on them! However, these chopsticks must be heavy to use. We’re not sure how practical this is for day-to-day living, but it’s a clever invention all the same.

A Japanese woman standing with a curtain hanging from her umbrella. Credit: Pinterest

39. Drape Umbrella

Umbrellas help to shield you when it rains, but it doesn’t cover up 100% of your body. With a normal umbrella, you could be walking to work and have the car drive past to splash you with water. This drape umbrella ensures that you are fully covered from head to toe. It’s very reminiscent of a shower curtain. The only issue is that it seems sort of claustrophobic and might fog up.

A plastic guide to help get your lipstick application perfect every time. Credit: ScoopNow

38. Lipstick Guide

Putting your lipstick on without using a mirror can be tricky sometimes. It’s possible that you can over-line your lips or make a mistake.  This lipstick guide is supposed to ensure that you get inside of the lines every time. The only issue is that it’s made for very specifically shaped lips. If your lips don’t match the outline, it won’t work very well for you.

This invention makes it possible for men to breastfeed. Credit: Ebaumsworld

37. Baby Daddy Milk

When you have a baby, most of the work falls on the mother. Even if the father is ready and willing to help his wife as much as humanly possible, it doesn’t change the fact that the mother is the only one who can breastfeed. That’s where this invention comes in. It’s two bottles in the shape of breasts, and they’re filled with mother’s milk. This way, the father can have the experience of feeding his child from his chest.

The natural remedy for bad city air. Credit: ScoopNow

36. Fresh Air Mask

Everyone knows that plants produce fresh air. And having a lot of plants in your home can be a huge benefit to the air quality of your home. But what if you need a direct line to the fresh air? This invention is a face mask that connects straight to a plant. In reality, this probably wouldn’t produce enough oxygen at once to give you a lot of fresh air. The booklet says that there is a bonsai forest version of the kit coming out soon. But we wonder how many people wanted to buy the Fresh Air Mask.

Turn your baby into a mop with this onesie. Credit: ScoopNow

35. Baby Mop

Babies crawl on the floor. So why not put them to work? This is a baby onesie with a mop head attachment. So when your baby crawls around on the floor, they can be dusting while they go. Of course, this isn’t exactly the most efficient way to clean. There is no way to direct your child to clean in a straight line, or to get into the corners to actually do a good job of cleaning. This might be a really good gag gift to give your friend during the baby shower.

A creepy hand will hold your head up while working. Credit: Big Global Travel

34. Head Support

When you have a long day at work, you might start nodding off. That’s where this helping hand might come in handy. It serves as head support when you need it most. In Japanese culture, there is a lot of pressure to work and study as hard as you can. It’s actually idealized to have a desk job at a business somewhere and work there until retirement. So it makes a lot of sense that this product exists, because it helps someone get through a tough work day.

This invention protects your from and splashing that might occur while eating noodles. Credit: 9Gag

33. Splash Protector

Apparently, splashing while eating your noodles is a big problem in Japan. That’s why we’re seeing this Japanese invention of a splash protector to wear around your face while eating. Personally, I would like to see something that prevents me from dropping food on my clothes and ultimately leaving a stain. It has happened far too often lately, and it needs to be stopped.

A creepy hand phone case. Credit: ScoopNow

32. Creepy Phone Case 

Who needs a Pop Socket when you could have a creepy hand on the back of your phone case? When you use your phone, it’s like you’re holding hands with someone. Maybe for some people, it will give them a sense of comfort. And it sure is a conversation starter. It also looks like it could possible prop up your phone when you need it to, also like a Pop Socket. Maybe this item would be best suited to use around Halloween.

A necktie that doubles as an umbrella. Credit: ScoopNow

31. Umbrella Tie

The Boy Scout motto is “Be Prepared”. This Japanese man looks like he might have been in the Boy Scouts, because with this umbrella tie, he is always ready just in case there is an unexpected rain storm. Japanese people are big fans of umbrellas when it rains. Later on this list, you’ll see that there are also cases that people lock to protect their umbrella. So it makes sense that someone invented an umbrella that would go with you everywhere.

How to keep a roll of toilet paper nearby at all times. Credit: eBaumsWorld

30. Tissue Above Head

When you have a really bad cold, it can seem like you need an endless amount of tissues. Maybe that’s why this Japanese invention was made. It allows you to have a roll of toilet paper hanging over your head at all times. The girl in the photo is blowing her nose, so we can only assume that she has a cold or allergies. If you wore this to the office, though, you would be very obvious about coming into work sick. Nowadays, they would expect you to stay home or wear a mask if you were sick enough to need one of these things.

A pillow that is shaped like a woman’s lap. Credit: ScoopNow

29. Lap Pillow

This lap pillow seems like it was invented by a very lonely man. The pillow is shaped like a woman’s legs kneeling on the ground with just enough room for you to lay your head. It’s very questionable whether these legs actually feel real or not.  Most likely, it won’t feel exactly like laying on someone’s lap. But if you want the aesthetic in your bachelor pad, go for it.

Butter that comes in the shape of a stick. Credit: Science 101

28. Butter Stick Type

A lot of people own lipstick, chapstick, or even glue sticks in their home. So why not go the next logical step and buy a butter stick? You never have to get a knife dirty again. When you make toast in the morning, all you have to do is spread the stick onto the bread, and it will melt off just the right amount of butter. Of course, this wouldn’t be recommended if you needed to use butter in a recipe or for baking. 

Take a peek through these umbrellas that have eyes. Credit: Science 101

27. Umbrellas Have Eyes

Do you have trouble seeing when using an umbrella? Some clever Japanese inventor created a little eye area on an umbrella so that you keep the umbrella over your face, but still see through to look where you’re going. It might also help to keep your identity a secret if you don’t feel like saying “hello” to people as you walk by them.

This necktie is designed to carry everything you need from your credit cards to paper clips. Credit: Science 101

26. Necktie That Holds Everything

Japanese businessmen need to wear a suit and tie every day when they go to work. So it makes sense that someone invented a necktie that holds everything, just like a wallet. The potential downside to this invention is that it might flip over to reveal all of your personal belongings. That would be embarrassing during a meeting! Or what if something fell out? I would love to hear what it’s like to actually use one of these in the real world.

These tiny umbrellas are designed to protect your shoes from the rain. Credit: Science 101

25. Umbrella Shoes

Some women are very sensitive about their shoes. They don’t want them to get wet in the rain, because it might ruin the leather. That’s where these little umbrellas come in. They are attached to the front of your shoes, and keep your feet from getting wet. Obviously, that doesn’t protect your feet if you step into a puddle, or if the water splashes on you from the sides.

A hand to help prevent your real fingers from getting chopped by a knife. Credit: eBaumsWorld

24. A Hand Chopper

If you cook a lot, you already know how it can be scary to chop vegetables because it gets very close to your fingers. That’s why some Japanese person invented the Hand Chopper. It looks like a hand that can hold down whatever you need to chop which gives you space between your real hand and the knife. The only issue is that it’s just something else that has to be cleaned at the end of the meal. And you could just simply be more careful when chopping so, instead of having this product in the first place.

A cushion to help lay on your stomach and use the laptop at the same time. Credit: ebaumsworld

23. Cushion You Can Lean On

If you’re someone who likes to lay on their stomach, it can be difficult to use your laptop at the same time. That’s usually something that you have to do while sitting up. This invention allows you to lay down on your stomach and use your laptop at the same time.  Personally, when I try to lay on my stomach and do anything like that, I get a pounding headache from poor blood circulation. So this invention looks like it would help to fix that issue.

Bubble push poppers are all the rage nowadays for stress relief. Credit: Science 101

22. Bubble Push Poppers

It’s not surprising to see that these push pop toys were invented by a Japanese person before they came over here to the United States. These have become popular to help people with their fidgeting habits, especially if they have autism or ADHD. They can also be given to children as a toy to keep them occupied. They’re really satisfying to play with, and it has a similar sensation to popping bubble wrap.

Eye dropper funnels help get the aim right. Credit: Ripleys

21. Eye Dropper Funnels

For anyone who has issues using eye drops, they will understand why someone invented these eyedropper funnels.  The glasses are situated so that the funnels will go directly over your eyes.  So when you use the eye drops, they should fall directly into your eyeballs. This obviously doesn’t fix the problem of blinking profusely when anything comes near your eye. But at least it helps get the aim right. Pro tip: If you have issues with eye drops, try going on the corner of the eye rather than dead-center, and it helps a lot.

A book shaped pillow to sneak a nap in while you’re at work or school. Credit: Ripleys

20. Book Shaped Pillow

For the workaholic in your life, here is a book-shaped pillow. This looks more like a gag gift rather than a clever invention that was meant to solve a problem. As soon as you fall asleep, it looks as though you were in the middle of some intense studying. This might be a good gift to give a student, because they could carry it into school and it would just look like one of their other textbooks. 

This t-shirt helps your friends find where to scratch your back. Credit: Ripleys

19. Battle Scratch Shirt

Have you ever had an itch on your back that was impossible to reach? And when you ask your family and friends to help you, they can’t seem to find exactly where it is either. That’s why someone invented this t-shirt that looks sort of like a BattleShip board. Just point to the grid where your back itches, and your friend can scratch that area to help alleviate your pain. However, this isn’t very practical, because how often do you really need help scratching your back? So how could you predict that you need to wear that t-shirt on that very day?

This invention collects rain water instead of repelling it. Credit: Vintage Everyday

18. Rain Water Collection Device

This umbrella is flipped upside down so it can become a rainwater collection device. They say that rainwater is some of the purest water you will ever drink. So maybe this Japanese businessman wants to drink this water on his breaks or when he gets home from work. It’s a clever idea if you’re trying to conserve water. But it has the obvious drawback of carrying around a large jug of water all day. And how would you close the umbrella and put it away once you go to work?

This invention helps enhance sound. Credit: The Awesome Daily

17. Ear Enhancer

Have you ever wanted superhuman hearing? That seems to be the goal of these ear enhancers, which are really just bowls attached to a headband to create some of the world’s strangest earmuffs. Technically, this should work just fine. It’s reminiscent of ear enhancers that were used for people who are hard-of-hearing back in the Victorian times.

This magnifying glass can be used to light a cigarette. Credit: The Awesome Daily

16. Solar Energy Lighter

Anyone who has seen Toy Story already knows that if you have a magnifying glass and bright sunlight, you can start a fire by harnessing the power of the sun. This device helps you attach a cigarette to the magnifying glass so that you can light it without an actual lighter. The only downside to this is that it would take significantly longer to light a cigarette this way compared to just using a pocket lighter.

Never show your true burger-eating face to the world again. Credit: ebaumsworld

15. Burger Eating Napkin Shield

Let’s be honest. No one looks attractive while they eat a hamburger. This is a paper shield that goes around your hamburger as you’re eating it. Since it looks like a face, you could potentially trick people into thinking that you’re just sitting there looking pretty. Obviously, this idea is silly, and you won’t see women using these if you ever visit Japan.

This pillowcase connects directly to your head like a hat. Credit: Science 101

14. Pillow Talk

This photo looks like it was taken in the 80’s or 90’s of a woman who is wearing a pillowcase that fits over her head like a hat. Maybe this would help make sure you never lose your pillow? If your pillows tend to fall on the floor in the middle of the night, maybe this invention is for you. Since your pillow is attached to your head, there is no way that it would disappear while you’re tossing and turning at night.

This air bath pillow allows you to bring your phone in the tub. Credit: Inventor Spot

13. Air Bath Pillow Smartphone Holder

Japanese people love to take baths, and some people do it on a daily basis. It’s a huge part of their culture to relax after the end of a long day in the hot bath tub. Since they’re in the bath for a long time, it makes sense that someone invented one of these pillow smartphone holders. This way, your phone won’t get wet while you scroll through Instagram or watch a YouTube video.

Stressed out? You can scream into this vase if you want to. Credit: Japan Trend Shop

12. Sakeboard Anger Management Shouting Jar

This anger management vase is used so that you can scream and shout as much as you want into the ceramic contraption, and it cuts down the noise to just one third of the original sound. It’s perfect for letting out frustration, or even shouting during a sporting match that you watch on TV without disturbing the neighbors. Apparently, this product is a bestseller on the Japan Trend Shop.

Lock up your umbrella to make sure no one steals yours. Credit: Reddit

11. Umbrella Rack Has Lock and Key

Umbrella racks are common in Japan, but this one is especially clever, because it has a system with a lock and key. This way, you can leave your umbrella behind and take the key with you. No one else could accidentally grab the wrong umbrella. In Japanese culture, people are very respectful of others. So it’s not likely that anyone would steal your things. But it helps to prevent mistakes from happening. This looks like it would be used in a public place like a shopping center.

Ride a mop around the house like an RC car. Credit: Japan Trend Shop

10. RC Sugoi Mop

This invention is essentially a mophead attached to an RC car. You can use a remote control to move the mop around the room, which might help push dust around. At the end of the day, it won’t actually clean your house the way that it needs to be cleaned. It’s mostly a gag gift to give to your lazy friends.

Muffle the sounds of karaoke with this gadget. Credit: Sora News

9. Silent Karaoke Gadget

Similar to the anger management vase, this gadget fits around a karaoke microphone. It allows you to sing as loudly as you want during karaoke without disturbing the neighbors. Sora News did a review on this product, so there is video footage of someone using this device. It doesn’t make the person completely silent, but rather it muffles their voice significantly.

Fans in the bottom of work shoes help keep feet feeling cool. Credit: My Smart Price

8. Air Cooled Shoes

If your feet sweat and start to stink throughout the day, this Japanese invention might actually help you. The Hydro-Tech air cooled shoes make sure that your feet are ventilated even in the summertime. There are six different vents that help to release moisture. The only obviously glaring issue is that these are holes in the bottom of your shoes. So what happens when it rains?

This fan connects to the back of your head for constant airflow. Credit: My Smart Price

7. USB Head Cooler

Japan is known for having brutally hot summer weather. It’s especially bad for men who need to wear long-sleeved business attire when they go to work. This is a USB powered gadget that cools your head using a thermal plate. It can lower your head temperature by an entire 10 degrees. It can be worn on your neck, or an elastic band over your arm. However, imagine wearing this in public. It would make you look rather silly, unless you were in a major heat wave. Then, maybe the people on the train would actually be jealous.

Glowing eyeglasses that send you notifications from your smartphone. Credit: Japan Trend Shop

6. Fun’iki Glasses Digital Eyewear

The Fun’iki glasses connect to your smartphone through Bluetooth, and they flash whenever there is a notification. This way, you don’t have to be glued to your phone all the time. You can choose to ignore the flash and check your phone later. Of course, this means you’re wearing these glasses all day long. I think it’s a lot easier to just put your phone on silent and check your notifications later, if you would rather not be disturbed.

The smartphone holder, for when you can’t be bothered to use your hands. Credit: My Smart Price

5. Smartphone Holder

This gadget allows you to carry around your smartphone without using your hands. It’s a harness that goes around your back, and props up the phone in front of you. Maybe that would be useful while you’re jogging or out on a walk. Otherwise, it seems rather silly and unnecessary. Technically, the man in the photo is still using his hands to use his smartphone, even though he’s got his coffee in one hand.

The morning meme light sleep mask. Credit: Japan Trend Shop

4. Morning Meme Light Sleep Mask

This invention acts as a sleep mask at night to help block out light when you’re trying to sleep. But then in the morning, it turns on natural light to simulate the rising sun. This is supposed to help you wake up gently, rather than reacting to an alarm clock that jolts you out of your sleep. The only true downfall of this product is that you would need to sleep still on your back all night long. For people who toss and turn in their bed or sleep in any other position, this sleep mask won’t work for you.

These gaming chairs allow you to kneel and lean forward comfortably. Credit: Japan Trend Shop

3. Buddy the Game Chair

This is actually a very popular item on the Japanese Trend Shop right now. It’s a gaming chair that changes into several different positions so that you can sit on it however you want. This is supposed to help with posture while playing video games, reading, or watching TV. It seems to be better than many of the American gaming chairs I’ve seen on the market, which only let you sit one way, and aren’t necessarily going to help save your back.

Epic salt shaker features a sumo wrestler tossing salt over his shoulder. Credit: Japan Trend Shop

2. Sumo Wrestling Salt Shaker

An unusual ritual of sumo wrestling is that the Japanese wrestlers throw salt before a fight. This is meant to purify the dohyo ring. During a 15-day tournament, the wrestlers use about 99 lbs of salt. This ceramic sumo wrestler salt shaker is meant to recreate this event. These cute shakers are handmade, so each one is a little bit unique. It’s a very cute gift to give someone who loves Japanese culture, especially if they watch sumo wrestling.

A USB-powered paper cup warmer helps keep your drinks warmer for longer. Credit: Japan Trend Shop

1. USB-Powered Paper Cup Warmer

This brilliant little USB-powered gadget is a transparent cup that is meant to keep your paper cup warmer for a longer period of time. You can plug it into your computer, or even plug it into your car for long road trips. It promises to keep your drinks warmer for up to 4 hours. And once it reaches the ideal temperature, it cuts off so that your drink won’t get too hot to drink. This would be a great gift for someone who buys coffee from somewhere like Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts, and they get so busy that the coffee gets cold before they can finish it.