Kawaii Research Paper

Decent Essays
Many Westerners perceive Japan as weird. While many aspects of its culture differ considerably from that of the United States and Europe, it is this difference that -- while “weird” to some -- is fascinating and even tantalizing to others. One of the most apparent of the cultural phenomena unique to Japan is the idea of kawaii. Kawaii is a difficult term to translate into English, but the term “celebrates sweet, adorable, innocent, pure, simple, genuine, gentle, vulnerable, weak, and inexperienced social behavior and physical appearances” (Kinsella 220). The idea of kawaii appeared in the mid-1960s through the 1970s and initially started with Japanese school girls. Around that time, as indicated by advertisements and articles from magazines, the desire for a youthful look evolved into a desire to emulate a cute, child-like look. Since then, the term kawaii deals mostly with the…show more content…
In investigating the history of kawaii, this theme of rebellion surfaces with the ideas of rejecting traditionally Japanese culture in favor of more of a European or Western culture which was perceived to be more fun. This in a large part includes the idea of “cute handwriting” that Japanese schoolgirls would practice in the 1960s and 70s where the format read like Western writing – left to right – and included English words and exclamation points. This was an experimentation by the youth in being able to speak more freely and through this they expressed themselves more easily with a style of writing that they felt more connected to as a result of their manipulations (Kinsella 224). The adults and older generations did not share the same positive reaction to this “cute handwriting” as they felt it was blatantly rebellious against Japanese traditions and cultural values they upheld
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