It also includes toys and multicolor clothes. Although kawaii is typically a female-dominated fashion, there are men who decide to partake in this trend. Some men decide to transform themselves into women, more specifically kawaii women.
They are able to transform themselves by wearing wigs, false eyelashes, applying makeup, and wearing kawaii female clothing. Men are also noted as often aspiring to a neotenic look. While it doesn't quite fit the exact specifications of what cuteness means for females, men are certainly influenced by the same societal mores - to be attractive in a specific sort of way that the society finds acceptable. The concept of kawaii has had an influence on a variety of products, including candy, such as Hi-Chew , Koala's March and Hello Panda.
Cuteness can be added to products by adding cute features, such as hearts, flowers, stars and rainbows. Cute elements can be found almost everywhere in Japan, from big business to corner markets and national government, ward, and town offices. For example:. Cute can be also used to describe a specific fashion sense   of an individual, and generally includes clothing that appears to be made for young children, apart from the size, or clothing that accentuates the cuteness of the individual wearing the clothing. Ruffles and pastel colors are commonly but not always featured, and accessories often include toys or bags featuring anime characters.
There have been occasions in which popular Western products failed to meet the expectations of kawaii , and thus did not do well in the Japanese market. For example, Cabbage Patch Kids dolls did not sell well in Japan, because the Japanese considered their facial features to be "ugly" and "grotesque" compared to the flatter and almost featureless faces of characters such as Hello Kitty.
Kawaii has gradually gone from a small subculture in Japan to an important part of Japanese modern culture as a whole. There is an overwhelming amount of modern items featuring kawaii themes, not only in Japan, but worldwide. Japan has become a powerhouse in the kawaii industry and images of Doraemon , Hello Kitty , Pikachu , Sailor Moon and Hamtaro are popular in mobile phone accessories. However, Professor Tian Shenliang says that Japan's future is dependent on how much of an impact kawaii brings to humanity. The Japanese Foreign Ministry has also recognized the power of cute merchandise and have sent three year-old women overseas in the hopes of spreading Japanese culture around the world.
The women are dressed in uniforms and maid costumes that are commonplace in Japan. Kawaii manga and magazines have brought tremendous profit to Japanese press industry. Kawaii products are seemingly gaining more popularity beyond the borders of Japan into other Asian markets, and it's seemingly becoming more popular in the US , especially among the young anime and manga fans as well as among those who are influenced by Japanese culture.
The underlying belief of this Japanese designer is that "kawaii" actually saves the world. Japanese kawaii seemingly operates as a center of global popularity due to its association with making cultural productions and consumer products "cute". This mindset pursues a global market,  giving rise to numerous applications and interpretations in other cultures.
The dissemination of Japanese youth fashion and "kawaii culture" is usually associated with the Western society and trends set by designers borrowed or taken from Japan. In these Asian markets, the kawaii concept takes on various forms and different types of presentation depending on the target audience.
Taiwanese culture , the government in particular, has embraced and elevated kawaii to a new level of social consciousness. The introduction of the A-Bian doll was seen as the development of a symbol to advance democracy and assist in constructing a collective imagination and national identity for Taiwanese people. The A-Bian dolls are kawaii likeness of sports figure, famous individuals, and now political figures that use kawaii images as a means of self-promotion and potential votes. Japanese popular "kawaii culture" has had an effect on Singaporean youth. The emergence of Japanese culture can be traced back to the mids when Japan became one of the economic powers in the world.
Kawaii has developed from a few children's television shows to an Internet sensation. The Asian countries of China, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Thailand either produce kawaii items for international consumption or have websites that cater for kawaii as part of the youth culture in their country.
Kawaii has taken on a life of its own, spawning the formation of kawaii websites, kawaii home pages, kawaii browser themes and finally, kawaii social networking pages. While Japan is the origin and Mecca of all things kawaii, artists and businesses around the world are imitating the kawaii theme. Kawaii has truly become "greater" than itself. The interconnectedness of today's world via the Internet has taken kawaii to new heights of exposure and acceptance, producing a kawaii "movement".
The Kawaii concept has become something of a global phenomenon. The aesthetic cuteness of Japan is very appealing to people globally. The wide popularity of Japanese kawaii is often credited with it being "culturally odorless". The elimination of exoticism and national branding has helped kawaii to reach numerous target audiences and span every culture, class, and gender group. In the Collins English Dictionary in the United Kingdom entered "kawaii" into their then latest edition, defining as a "Japanese artistic and cultural style that emphasizes the quality of cuteness, using bright colours and characters with a childlike appearance.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Japanese culture of cuteness.
Not to be confused with Hawaii , Kauai , or Kawaiisu. For other uses, see Kawai disambiguation. This section 's tone or style may not reflect the encyclopedic tone used on Wikipedia. See Wikipedia's guide to writing better articles for suggestions. July Learn how and when to remove this template message.
Beautiful is an Adjective. Prestel, p. Retrieved 20 September John A. Women, media, and consumption in Japan. Hawai'i Press, USA. Retrieved 29 September Archived from the original on Retrieved Associated Press. The material child: coming of age in Japan and America.
University of California Press. Retrieved 19 July In Japanese. Japan Today.
Retrieved 25 March The Asahi Shimbun. A Guide to Japanese Street Fashion. New York Times. Tokyo Kawaii, Etc. In fact, the Japanese kawaii came to life around the s and was associated with a new style of writing. Teenagers in Japan started using mechanical pencils which in turn introduced fine lines on the paper, totally different than the traditional Japanese writing.
Girls will now use big and round characters and also add characters to their writing such as small hearts, stars and faces. What is even more interesting is that Kazuma Yamane studied the development of cute handwriting which was also called Marui Ji round writing or Kaneko Ji kitten writing. Kazuma-san concluded that this new trend emerged due to the rounded writing widely available in comics and the new technical means mechanical pencils available. It is believed that Japanese kawaii can be traced back to the Edo Period and the use of Netsuke.
Netsuke are miniature sculptures invented in the 17th century. Money, medicines, tobacco could all be stored in netsuke. Needless to say that a quick search for the word netsuke and you will truly understand why Japanese kawaii could be associated with these incredibly cute sculptures.
But there is more… in the first true Japanese kawaii character emerged: Hello Kitty. In the s, Japanese kawaii saw the rise of new idols such as Seiko Matsuda. Japanese girls started imitating her cute fashion, which eventually became a market on its own. Today, Japanese kawaii is no longer limited to teenagers only but it is a booming market which targets people of all ages.
The short answer is yes. Japanese kawaii is not only accepted but encouraged and it's fine for both, men and women. Some suggest that cute is now taking over the Japanese idea of beautiful and refined. One glance around any Japanese shop and you will be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of kawaii stuff available for sale. You can get anything from sweets, through clothing to household items. Nowadays, Japanese kawaii merchandise plays an important role in Japanese culture and products.
Everything cute is now pursuing a global market. For one, you will definitely come across "street kawaii". A walk around Harajuku and you will see plenty of teenagers dressed incredibly cute. Girls nowadays take kawaii very seriously and associate cute with innocent. As such, you will find many teenagers wearing large contact lenses to amplify their eyes which is especially in manga and anime associated with innocence. Some even go through drastic eye cosmetic surgeries to make their eyes bigger. Japanese kawaii is used as a selling point for many products. For example, my favourite mascara in the whole world is called Heroine Make and it uses cute manga on the packaging.
Japanese kawaii can be found in all shops. In fact, I noticed kawaii plush toys, cute phone covers, adorable accessories, all for sale. I was even surprised to see an array of Japanese kawaii in serious establishments, such as museums and galleries. The part that shocked me the most was the use of Japanese kawaii in educational posters and day to day educational videos which could be found throughout the city. For example, there were various subway posters which employed the use of cute. At first, I felt treated like a child, by being presented with cute things which usually target children.
But then, after spending a couple of months in Japan, I learned to like them and started appreciating them. I noticed that Japanese kawaii combined with educational messages were more likely to stick with me than any other poster which used words only or real-life models. First, I asked about the lolita girls and cute maids cafe scattered all around Akihabara. Second, I asked why Japanese people like such adorable things which are seemingly targeting kids or teenagers.
The answer to the first question was somewhat coy. If you are a foreigner and interested in adult things to do in Japan, going to a maid cafe is considered ok. However, the society seems to frown upon Japanese people visiting maid cafes establishments. Things are strict and not at all viewed as cute, adorable or playful. So much so, that seeing all things nice and kawaii is rather entertaining and uplifting. After a full day of stressful work, going to a shop which sells Japanese kawaii merchandise is a nice change of scenery and a great antidote to an otherwise potentially dull existence.
To understand Japanese kawaii, one has to visit Japan. I still remember spending days exploring various shopping centres and malls. Everything was exciting, adorable and well packaged. As you may already know, customer service in Japan is the best in the world. Japan is the perfect example of a capitalist society who takes you, as a customer, and the business seriously.
One glance at a Japanese shop and you will want to splurge on all products available. Everything is well presented, perfectly packaged and beautifully arranged. To top it all up, you are always guaranteed top-notch service and a tailored experience.
When you buy something, whether it's Japanese kawaii or not, you will receive a greatly wrapped present; so when you get home or to your hotel you will feel like a child, opening up, your newly purchased present. Are you a fan of Japanese kawaii? Are you interested in purchasing kawaii stuff?
Would you like kawaii to go mainstream in the Western countries as well? Let me know by leaving a comment below! Did you like this article?
Do you have any questions or suggestions? Leave a comment below. Aww this takes me right back to my visit to Japan and the harajuku girls. Not sure the surgery for enlarging the eyes sounds like a good idea Does it vary by region in Japan or just a Tokyo thing?