Thursday, January 12, 2012

January: Geekout - It's all Kawaii Cuteness in Japanese Culture

I'm enjoying the RSS feed from the geekout blog on CNN. Lots of topics that interest me. So each month I'll mention one that I find the most interesting and add my own perspective.
I was thrilled when the KAWAII / cuteness topic was explored.

I remember my own trips to Japan in the ninetees. How pervasive cute mascots were everywhere. But it seemed a bit strange in a male-dominated culture in Japan. But with the huge success of Hello Kitty (starting back in 1974), and how International its success was, everyone started copying it in their own way. Now kawaii characters appear on nearly every sign in Japan.

The most interesting thing to me is the affect that KAWAII has had on individuals. Especially on people's manners and behavior.
"That's because cuteness is a desirable quality in Japan, not just in branding, handwriting and fashion, but in manner as well. Japanese women who purposely speak softly and feign high-pitched laughter are known as "burikko." The etymology of burikko takes the Japanese words for "child" and "fish" and blends them with "to pretend or pose. Men are not exempt from being kawaii either, even though they are also expected to be manly as well."

That might be true but one of the more interesting TV trends in Japan are shows that transform boys into girls. Here are links to some examples. The common threads are how cute the boys look as girls and the overwhelming reaction by the audience.

Guys are prettier

Boy or Girl?

K-Pop Boys


Anyways, It's all cuteness!

Andrea Nicole Baker

1 comment: