• Kyodo News


After learning that many Japanese eat their potato chips using chopsticks, toy manufacturer Tomy Co. developed a new tool for picking them up.

Tomy shipped 85,000 units of Potechi no Te (Potato Chip Hand) in late June, when the product was released, but is already struggling to keep up with demand.

“I thought if I made a tool with which people can enjoy reading books or watching videos while munching potato chips without worrying about their hands or nails getting oily, it would be a hit,” said Yoshinobu Kaneko, the toy’s creator.

In Kaneko’s original plan, the tool’s pincers were made to look like the mouth of an animal, but these later morphed into a clenched fist with forefinger and thumb extended to pick up the chips. Kaneko said he wanted to stress the motion of “picking up something with hands.”

“I thought it wasn’t interesting to make it similar to a pair of tongs. I put playful spirits into the product,” he said.

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