Thanks for the weird gadgets: we check out Thanko Rare Mono Shop

Finding Japanese online shops that sell weird stuff is like our hobby. We’re always looking for the strangest inventions and the new, crazy trends. Like people who spot birds, or take photos of trains, except without the aggressive pushing and yelling.

So this time, we wanna tell you about Thanko (Rare Mono).

‘Mountain light’ what?

Let’s start with that name.

The CEO’s name is Yamamitsu: the 2 kanji mean ‘mountain’ and ‘light’. Other ways to say those kanji in Japanese are ‘san’ and ‘kou’. He called the company ‘Sankou’, after himself, and that’s been translated into English as Thanko. Like ‘thank you’.

At first, the company only sold IT-related gadgets and tech merch. One of their first big hits was a memory drive wristwatch with a USB cable. It worked as a watch, and as super handy (wristy?) file storage.

AND you probably don’t know that Thanko claims they invented the ‘lying down laptop desk’ you see everywhere now. Whoever created this thing first, we can all agree it’s changed lives. Now there’s no need to even sit up in bed to watch Netflix and play games.

Thanko wants to sell stuff that’s useful and funny – at 2 physical stores in Akihabara, and on their huge website. They stock a mix of things they invented and existing items they’ve discovered.

Our ‘love at first sight’ moment happened with Thanko’s hand-shaped chin rest.

When we’re trying to think, support’s exactly what we need. From a big plastic hand attached to the table. The person who came up with it must’ve had their chin on their hand while they were brainstorming. “If only I had both hands free to type out ideas… hey, wait a second…”

Stuff you can’t live without… once you know it exists

To write this post, we spent ages thinking about the best, craziest stuff to show you.

(All pics are from the Thanko Japanese website, which you can order from with our item request form.)

How about… a USB mask refresher? For those masks people wear over their nose and mouth when they’re feeling unwell. They can start to feel icky after a few hours. They get warm, sweaty, and a bit stinky (if we’re being honest here).

Refresh it with the mini fan for 45 minutes, and it’s like putting a new mask on. As a clever, futuristic touch, the refresher uses plasma ions. About 8 million of them per cubic cm of air, to sterilise and disinfect the mask. Nice and science-y.

We also enjoy this musical mat alarm clock, that pushes you more than most clocks do. The time and alarm can be programmed with a smartphone app. When it goes off, you have to sit up (at least), and put your feet on the mat to stop it playing.

Get this – you’ve gotta use both feet for it to work. Check out the video tutorial:

Having to sit up, or get up, stops you from hitting snooze and going back to sleep.

When you’re awake and getting on with your day, make it extra weird with elf ears headphones. One for the cosplayers and LARPers out there. Thanko put in extra work for these product pics, giving their model a Legolas-style blonde wig.

"They're taking the hobbits to Eisengard!"

The headphones clip around each ear, with in-ear buds, and the cable’s got a built-in microphone. Those functions are normal enough that you might forget you look like an elf.

We can go on – the weirdness doesn’t end there. Because we found… this.

You’re looking at a ‘hand fan mobile battery selfie stick’. Maybe the most amazing invention of all time. Thanko could’ve just sold it as a dual-purpose gadget, but nope, they packed in another function somehow. It’s got 3 fan speed settings (weak, medium, and strong):

The fan’s there to stop your selfies looking sweaty in summer. It also helps you get more dynamic pics, with the wind rushing through your hair. You’ll look cooler, in so many ways.

After you’ve found the perfect angle and taken a few shots, recharge that smartphone battery before it gets too low. With the fan on all the time, the selfie stick/charger’s own battery power lasts up to 4 hours. And it takes roughly the same amount of time to charge back up.

The warmth of undeniable weirdness

Underneath all the crazy idea, you’ll find stuff that’s practical… in an inventive new way. When it comes to keeping their customers warm, Thanko goes all out. They sell 3 types of warming items:

  • to heat the air
  • to heat the body
  • to heat things

And they’re all pretty awesome. Let’s start with the heated jacket that warms up in 10 seconds. The heat pads are at the neck and back. It’s not bulky, so the jacket can be worn as an outer or inner layer. Imagine how warm it’d feel under another winter coat…

Choose from 3 power levels with the handy button on the inner collar! Even the lowest setting gets up to 38 degrees (C). The power pack lasts for up to 4 hours (2 hours on the highest setting).

But what if your feet need the heat instead? Warming room slippers could be the invention for you. They already look nice and cosy before they’re plugged in. Set your ideal toe temperature with the dial, depending on if it’s a little chilly or super freezing.

Yet again, these work with a USB cable. Is there anything a USB cable can’t do…

Well, Thanko also sells a heated USB mouse. So we guess the answer to that question is ‘nope’.

Thanko, come again

There are 3 ways to buy Thanko Rare Mono goods on DEJAPAN:

  1. Check out our listings for Amazon Japan, Rakuten Marketplace, and Yahoo! Shopping.
  2. See what’s on Yahoo! Auctions right now and get bidding.
  3. Make item requests by sending us product page URLs from the Thanko website.
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