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Cute / kawaii articles reference


20 Oct 2003
For a reference on cute/kawaii culture, with links to internet articles on biological and socio-cultural aspects and books, check out this post here.

Hello folks,

I'm enrolled in a course called "Intro. to the Culture of Japan" at my university and must work on a research paper for my final project. I have decided to write my paper on "kawaii"... Japan's "culture of cuteness". I find all the cutesy stuff in Japan exciting and think it would be a great topic. Does anyone have any input or links to help me research this topic? Are there any interesting facts?


I have found this site so far: http://www.allthingskawaii.net/links/
Something you might want to mention in your paper is that this "culture of cuteness" extends to both sexes and across all age brackets (from the people I have met anyways). High-school girls are probably the largest demographic, although... forty-year-old women who adorn their automobiles in Kitty-chan paraphernalia are not as uncommon as you think. I recently saw a segment on TV with a 20something "Yankee" (badboy wannabe) who had his entire apt. furnished with Pooh memorabilia, heh. When asked why he did it, of course his reply was "Because my girlfriend likes Pooh." Uh-huh... Of course, males tend to be more conservative but I have often seen a Sanrio character or two on more than one salaryman's keitai strap, heh.
Did anyone see the recent article on Murakami Takashi in the New York Times magazine? Very very interesting stuff.
It does sound like an interesting topic to discuss on your paper. In both cultural and psychological aspects, how cuteness appeals to some adults in Japan seems extreme and twisted.

I wish I could help you giving some insights, but I think I could only say negative things about it.
Best of luck on your paper. I'm with misa: I could probably only say negative things about it, too.

The only thing I can think about right now is probably very tangential, but I was thinking, How much does does this kawaii-ness influence the Japaneses' perception of the world beyond their nation's boundaries? And, more to my own personal interests, How much has it influenced Americans' perception of pop-culture icons in Japan? Because it seems like a lot of the popular media portrayals of Japan right now are more slated towards their "kawaii-ness," some descending even to patronizing condescension.

Of course, my idea probably won't run well in the paper, but here's hoping! Let us know how your paper turns out!

It can't be all that bad; (although I usually go yeach, when I see another kawai fad encroaching on normal things..hehe) there's got to be something positive about it, as in anything else, right ?

Well, think about Disneyland and all the friendly, cute characters that enriched our childhood. Could you maybe compare how such childlike images have become more expressive and prevalent in Japan in comparison to other parts of the world ?

How about "Rediscovery of the child in everyone thru Japan's cutsie-cutsie commercial art ?"

Or how about comparing Western (American ??) obsession for physical youth as shown in cosmetic surgery and Japan's fascination with childhood toys ?"

How about children's tendency to perceive small things as friendly; its relationship with adults wanting small pets ?

You can always find endless topics in comparative *something* because because of the sheer number of possibilities remaining unexplored. Good luck, have fun ! 🙂
Thank all of you for your contributions!! I will update this thread as I work on my research paper as well as post it here when it's complete :)

Keep the links and ideas coming :D
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