If you've ever travelled to Japan, or if you've ever collected Pokemon cards or drawn cat faces on your pancakes, then you are probably familiar with kawaii.
I was struck by how clean and orderly Tokyo is—and how the road signs, high-rises, and even vending machines look like art installations. Then, there is the obsession with everything cute, or kawaii: road-construction barricades shaped like pink bunnies, cartoon figures painted on buses, and even men in suits toting brightly decorated smart phones.
— Elisabeth TNT, Vogue, November 2013
The word kawaii is derived from a phrase that refers to blushing but through time the meaning of the word has changed and is nowadays translated to 'cute'. But kawaii is actually so much more than just cute: it's a huge part of Japanese culture and can be found in anime, fashion, art, music, lifestyle and more! The history of kawaii culture. Kawaii Face ( ‿ ) ヽ(‘ ∇‘ )ノ Every Text Face & Kawaii Emoji Get ('o') Kawaii and ٩(^‿^)۶ text faces with a different different type of moods like (^A^) happy, ☜(`o´) angry, ヽ(͡ ͜ʖ ͡ )ﾉ cute, sad, etc. Narwhal gel pen SET OF 3 pens, super cute kawaii narwhal stationary, cute school supplies, kawaii narwhal gift warmpersonality. From shop warmpersonality. 5 out of 5 stars (1,988) 1,988 reviews $ 7.50. Favorite Add to 60 Piece Stationary Set Kawaii Stationary San-X Crux megangoodsondesigns.
'Kawaii' is often about endowing seemingly mundane things with personality.
Often mentioned alongside anime and manga, kawaii refers to a cultural style that incorporates bright, pastel colors and childlike imagery. In Japanese, the word kawaii has a meaning that sits more or less at the juncture of 'cute,' 'tiny,' or 'lovable.' The cute aesthetic—with its bold, nearly cartoon-like lines and rounded forms—informs a large segment of Japanese popular culture. As scholar Joshua Paul Dale writes, '[kawaii] communicates the unabashed joy found in the undemanding presence of innocent, harmless, adorable things.'
The most famous example of kawaii culture is probably Hello Kitty, the ubiquitous white feline character whose image emblazons an ever-expanding range of products and accessories. The character was commissioned by a company called Sanrio, founded by Shintaro Tsuji, in 1974, with a plastic coin purse as the first product bearing the image. Now Hello Kitty is found on everything from backpacks to food trucks to duct tape to kitchen appliances to adult toys. Even though the character was originally intended for preteen girls, its limitless branding has pushed it into essentially every demographic and business sectors that have nothing to do with childhood.
But kawaii is about more than just fashion. It's often about endowing seemingly mundane things with personality.
In some restaurants, for example, pastries or mounds of rice might be sculpted to resemble cartoon characters. The saturation of kawaii in Japan is so deep that the name attaches to widely disparate phenomena, from bubbly handwriting to road signage to the designs painted on the sides of passenger jets. Even police departments, perhaps regarded as otherwise impersonal, are provided with kawaii mascots to give them a more approachable feel.
Kawaii Cute Pictures
So the next time a barista puts a cat or bear or bunny face in your cappuccino foam, you'll know what to call it. And make sure you Instagram it for the rest of us.
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