Although Japan has a reputation as a pretty sophisticated high-tech wonderland, there's no shortage of garbage products designed to appeal to the wallets of the gullible or the plain bored, so the latest bizarre gadget barely caused us to wrinkle an eyebrow.

The mpion , made by an anonymous manufacturer and sold by various mail-order retailers such as Netyokocho , is - believe it or not - an MP3 player that gives users a facial while they listen to music.

Negative advertising

For the extortionate price of ¥20,790 (£86), the mpion delivers a 1998-style 128MB of memory that can hold about 32 tracks. However, the real selling point (to those into bogus science) is a negative ion generator slapped on the back of the player.

The idea is that negative ions (or 'minus ions' as they're called in Japan) can clean skin pores when applied to the face far better than old-fashioned soap and water. Apparently, the two modes that can be activated alternately banish microscopic dirt or help diffuse skin cream. Well, if it's on the internet it must work, right?

Worst of all, the mpion weighs just 35g so it won't even make a decent paperweight or doorstop when it becomes clear just what a useless piece of junk it is. At least it has a safety feature built in to stop one overdosing on negativity. Wish we could say the same.