Kawaii in Western Culture


A common word that’s often as used by anime, manga, or Western fashion fans is “kawaii. inches For those who are unfamiliar, it generally means cute, but will often refer to charming or dear. Though Kawaii Shop Japan the term usually refers to cute Western goods or characters, it’s gained so much popularity, that it’s turn into a common way to describe anything cute no matter the origin.

Though large-eyed toon characters, food with happy faces, and ostentatious displays of cute may seem uncommon for many outside of Asia, it’s just a part of cute Western culture and is well-accepted among other Asian countries. So, just how integral is kawaii in Western culture? Just walk across the streets of Japan or view magazines or newspapers, and you’ll observe great its range really is.

From companies, organizations, cities, police programs and more, in japan, they are bound to have a cute character as their mascot. Not only that, but many of these characters, especially the ones belonging to a large corporation or organization, pick up a history and personality. Take for instance, Sony’s mascot, a white cat named Toro. Toro is not merely a soulless mascot, he or she has a birthday, likes food items, had disapprovals, and has the wish to become human.

Many of these mascots are in super deformed design style, which is typical in Western animation and comics. And what exactly is super deformed? It’s a style of caricature in which characters are drawn with exaggerated proportions: big eyes, over-sized heads, tiny bodies, non-distinct hands or legs, big eyes, and hair that usually defies the laws of gravity. Characters that are designed like this are often the ones that receive “kawaii” as a response.

Not only is cute prevalent among toon characters, but also in Western fashion. Japan has a broad selection of fashion styles, a few of which take cuteness to a very different level. Though these styles aren’t area of the mainstream, you can often see them around the streets of Harajuku. And what styles might this be?

There’s Decora, which focuses on ostentatious accessorizing and bright colors such as pink and baby blue. Usually, those donning these style dons multiple hair-clips that have strawberries, desserts, and bow charms. Bright socks, funky leg warmers, and sanrio-type bags are often worn.

Another style is called sweet lolita, which focuses on pastel colors, most notably pink and baby blue. Despite what the colors suggest, this style is actually based on Victorian or Rococo fashion, and is one of the reasons that wearing petticoats is integral to the fashion. Though not greatly popular and far from being daily wear, there are brands that accommodate completely towards this style.


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