Tag Archives: Japan

More about the Art of loving Kawaii

Frankfurter Buchmesse

Frankfurter Buchmesse (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This blog has had a total of 115 posts. It was started in 2010, and has steadily picked up views. Which is kind of nice and lucky for me because I don’t write about things that others want to read. I write what I want to write. But then I wrote this post about Kawaii. It was just my thoughts about Japanese cuteness– Kawaii.

But I started to get really interested in learning why there were views everyday, all indicating someone had visited my blog to read about Kawaii- my views on Kawaii.

Its been about three months, and everyday people are reading about Kawaii on my blog. Its clear people love Kawaii. Or at the very least are interested in learning more about it. I decided to write more about it, so that people would have more to read.

It is a subculture, distinctly cute, pink and innocent.

To me it is obvious that people are looking for something other than an oversexified version of humanity. Maybe now we all are just looking for innocence.

Interest in Kawaii doesn’t mean people want to go all the way dressing up in styles associated with little girls. But at the very least it means that people like the idea of seeing those styles around. They are interested in cuteness.

Importantly, its not just the clothing. It is the attitude that is innocent. But what exactly does it mean- innocent? Lets start by understanding what exactly Kawaii constitutes of.

Segments of Kawaii-ism:

1. Fashion, dress, makeup (or lack of)

Dressing in dresses that little girls would wear, just in larger sizes. Little girl jewelry pieces, bows, cute cartoons on clothing. In my opinion: Makeup doesn’t have to be worn to be a Kawaii lover. After all the emphasis is on innocence. Why does it need to be achieved being all dolled up, deep circular strokes of blush on the cheeks and all . Kawaii cutenesss comes from knowing the essentials of innocence and Kawaii dressing. A lot of Kawaii culture gatherings will feature girls in bright pink wigs. But again, that is not necessary. Achieving Kawaii cuteness comes from the attitude.

B. And neither does Kawaii fashioon need to be overkill.
Some Kawaii aspirants will grab every piece of Kawaii fashion accessory in their reach and wear them at the same time. Which is so not Kawaii. Kawaii is a lifestyle. It is not like dressing up for Halloween once a year. You arent trying to get people to identify you as a freak. Kawaii cuteness can be practical. That is what it is, functional, practical innocence.

Yes, cartoons are heavily featured in Kawaii images. But that does not mean one needs to turn in to a cartoon to honor the Kawaii fashion. Lets talk now about cartoons and Kawaii.

2. Cartoonized Reality.
Apart from dressing and behaving innocently, Kawaii means cartoons are made out of any everyday item. Food items, animals and people are drawn out to be in the form of cartoons. These are usually seen in Kawaii art and posters.

For men and women both?
Now, is Kawaii for just women? Or can men be Kawaii fans too? Kawaii is usually adopted as a fashion form by women. But men in Japan are interested in the concept as well.

Japanese men will open their hearts, minds and homes to Kawaii more than any other world culture will, because they are themselves drawn to cuteness. Not being stereotypical here, just stating a fact. The reason for this is just that Kawaii is so rampant, well known and accepted in Japan as a fashion, and a lifestyle that the men are champs at embracing the innocence that the Kawaii culture exhibits. Innocence is liked in Japan, by both sexes.

~ Bibi








The ANA Boeing 747-400 airplane painted with P...

Image via Wikipedia

Kawaii means cute in Japanese. It’s a movement that relies on cuteness and girly characteristics as its main themes.

If you have been alive anywhere between now and the 1970s, you’ve been exposed to the magic of Kawaii. It spread everywhere starting out from Japan. Thanks to Kawaii, girly, cute qualities have been made so popular that they are not just a fashion theme amongst some circles; they are an acceptable addition to just about anything in Japan. Now men view cuteness as an attraction and like their women to appear girly.

If you have ever watched anime, you’re sure to have noticed girls with cute high pitched voices and child like clothing. If you don’t remember noticing the clothing, you can’t tell me you missed the excessive giggling of female characters that are portrayed as innocent and positive. Female characters that are negative have harder, stronger voices in anime, voices women would normally have here in the US, or just about anywhere but Japan, of  course.

My opinion of Kawaii has changed considerably in the last couple of years. About four years ago, I thought Kawaii was creepy and that it represented what was wrong with Japanese men, it gave me a sort of pedophilia vibe. So I dismissed it, and felt strongly when I’d see Japanese women in their 20s and 30s acting much younger than they are, and honestly, somewhat unintellectual in their mannerisms.

Now, after studying and learning much more about the Kawaii cute culture, I think it may be a good thing. Let me explain how. They put Pokemon on their airplanes, and Hello Kitty is of course the queen of cuteness in Japan. Also, Totoro and Felix the Cat and Stitch from Lilo and Stitch and Winnie the Pooh, Mickey Mouse, Care Bears and so many others. Would you be able to be in a bad mood if you saw a host of cuteness around you at all times. Surrounding you, embalming your awareness and nudging you towards a happy place that we all know exists but we forget, so we need the cute brigade around us all the time for us to remember the innocence.

Designer Sebastian Masuda is an advocate of Kawaii and creates fashion that brings the culture to the Western world. He makes a point when he says Kawaii cuteness saves the world. It does. I don’t think anyone would be violent and hurtful if there was cuteness all around them. Your buses, your trains, household items, wallpaper, clothing all could be broadcasting cuteness and spreading cheer.

Now you can obviously pick the level of cuteness you desire. It doesn’t have to be overkill. I think if I incorporated a few cute things in my lifestyle, I’d be able to tune in to my soft side. Like for example, I have a few Hello Kitty and Robowan stickers on my laptop lid. You could pick your favorite stuffed toys and place them around your room, another way to add cute to your life would  be placing cute rugs, painting your walls or wall papering a few walls in the house. It is possible to nurture your cute side, and on a greater level, we could promote childlike cuteness and love everywhere in the world.