Maywa Denki

Nonsense Machines

Nobumichi Tosa1

Formed in 1993 by brothers Masamichi and Nobumichi Tosa, Japanese musical instrument and toy maker Maywa Denki produces some of the weirdest objects you’ve ever seen

Program-controlled musical device, equipped with six horns and knives. Five fishes swim with a blast on the horns as they cut the paper


Na-Tate-Goto is an electronic harp with two fins picking the strings as the head spins

Maywa Denki’s products started with NAKI Series in 1990 when Novmichi Tosa came across the personal question, “Who am I?” He adopted the following methods to try to solve this:

1- Compare oneself to a fish, and the world to a small sea where a fish lives, then, ask oneself “Who am I?” to find the answer from the point of a fish.
2- With the theme of “one item=one message,” create a product to express the answer. Give each one of 26 products an alphabetical model number.
3- Examine the results as a whole and feel the total image of one’s self.

This process is just like fishing. The fish (=the idea) swimming in the sea (=chaos in one’s brain) is landed onto the real world with the fishing technique (=reason) and fishing tackle(=mechanical engineering skill). Novmichi tried to understand the undersea world (=himself) by analyzing 26 fishes caught from the sea.

Various kinds of questions flowed through his mind in the producing process of NAKI Series, such as “What is God”?” “What is the world?” and “What is to produce a thing?” Finding an answer to these led him to create three types of products made from three different points of view:

A) God’s point of view: Compare a fish in aquarium to a human being, and a human being to God who is looking at the fish. Make a simulator of closed, small world like a globe. (e.g. Uke-Tel, Tako-Niwa, Sei-Gyo, and Hai-Gyo)

B) Human being’s point of view: Look at the world from the different angle by putting some device between the relationship of a human being and the world. (e.g. Uo-No-Me, KinGyo-no-Hung, and Ring-Ring)

C) Tool’s point of view: Instill divinity into a tool made by a human being(=a creator). Form a tool into a fish-shaped musical instrument, a weapon,and electric appliances. (e.g. Na-Cord, Glass-Carp, and Yumi-Na)


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