An urawaza (Japanese for "secret trick")[1] is a quirky, ingenious technique that optimizes an everyday activity like cleaning up spills, preventing odors, or folding laundry.[1][2] In Japan, urawaza have been shared by word of mouth and passed down to descendants for centuries.[1] In the aftermath of World War II, urawaza helped the population make best use of scarce resources, like using alcohol instead of more expensive household solvents for cleaning.[1][2] Lifestyle urawaza were popularized in the Japanese television series Ito-ke no Shokutaku (The Ito Family Dinner Table), incorporating many viewer-submitted tips.[1] The term itself became globally popularized when video gamers in the 1980s began sharing their game-related urawaza online.[1]

Many cultures and countries outside Japan have similar folk wisdom under different names. American columnist Heloise has published many such tips in her column "Hints from Heloise".[1] Modern urawaza include chilling a cellphone to increase its battery life,[2] keeping sugar dry by adding grains of uncooked rice,[2] and practicing one's bowling throw with an iron (pointing to a specific target) to develop aim before getting used to the weight of an actual ball.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Katayama, Lisa (2 September 2008). "Urawaza — quirky, everyday Japanese tips — head West". Japan Times. Archived from the original on 2012-12-20. Retrieved 2009-02-23. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Boutin, Paul (18 February 2009). "Low-Tech Fixes for High-Tech Problems". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-02-23. 

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