Japan Invented the Selfie Stick. In 1983.

Illustration for article titled Japan Invented the Selfie Stick. In 1983.
Kotaku EastEast is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

You might have heard the story about the American who invented the original selfie stick about a decade ago. Thing is, it was apparently invented in Japan earlier than that. Much earlier.

Advertisement

Back in 1983, Japanese camera company Minolta released the Minolta Disc-7, a camera that was years ahead of its time. As Camerapedia explains:

The Disc-7 had one remarkable feature which stood it apart from other disc cameras. In the center of the front plate was a small convex mirror, which could be used by the photographer to compose a self-portrait. The tiltable, telescoping carrying strap was used as a focusing aid, as its length corresponded with the optimal focus distance of the macro lens.

The name of the first selfie stick, which you can see here, wasn’t “selfie stick.” Why? Because nobody knew what the hizzy heck a selfie was in 1983 (in Japanese, the common term now for “selfie” is actually 自撮り or “jidori”). When it was originally released in the early 80s, the stick was sold under the product name “Extender” (エクステンダー) as part as a kit that also included a remote shutter button.

What’s important isn’t just that this was a stick you could attach to a camera, but it was a stick designed specifically for self-portraits. Likewise, the camera’s mirrored face was also created with the idea that people would use this device to photograph themselves.

Earlier this year, Twitter user Tessr uploaded photos of the Japanese selfie stick from a 1995 book 101 Useless Japanese Inventions. Website Byoukan Sunday recently posted these images, pointing out that the invention is hardly new.

Illustration for article titled Japan Invented the Selfie Stick. In 1983.
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled Japan Invented the Selfie Stick. In 1983.

Doesn’t look like the selfie stick was a “useless” invention after all. Annoying? Yes. Useless? Oh no.

Advertisement

Top photo: takayuki | Shutterstock

To contact the author of this post, write to bashcraftATkotaku.com or find him on Twitter @Brian_Ashcraft.

Advertisement

Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

DISCUSSION

I hate that selfie is even a word, let alone a cheap device created to do something that had been done before. I mean, I’m looking at the back of my Cap’n Crunch box right now while I’m eating and it has some shit about you could win blah blah send us your selfie blah blah hashtag.

This is it. This is the pinnacle of the human race. We won’t get any higher than this, folks.