How KAWAII Culture originated ? All what you should know is here ! (/^▽^)/
🌸 Imagine you are taking a stroll in Takeshita street in Harajuku and eating some cute crepes, when you suddenly see a young girl covered with bows and pastel colors giggling as a little child. Then, you wonder, what is this new trend and how come I haven't found out yet?
Relax.. don’t panic ! ^^ Here I am to show you this wonderful world ! <3
If you got delighted by this way of life, and instantly thought: How can I enrich myself with this culture to be a kawaii idol ?! Then, I am glad to tell you that this is your place !
Let me introduce you into this Kawaii Culture, to inundate your life with sweetness and to worship cute icons as if they were your gods. Scroll down to discover what is Kawaii and why to lead this lifestyle full of fantasy ! 💜💜💜
Meaning & Origins Of The Kawaii Word
Probably, if you have otaku entertainments such as manga, anime or even video games, you already know that kawaii means ‘’cute’’, ‘’lovely’’ or ‘’adorable’’. But the truth is that its meaning goes further.
Have you ever struggled trying to express the adorableness that overloads you when looking at a cute cat with sparkly eyes? Well, then kawaii word will make your life easier. This japanese term is used to describe an infinity assortment of concepts that produces you that high level of tenderness; it can be applicated on animals, babies or even inanimate objects.
Kawaii meaning embraces everyone, regardless of race, genre or sexual orientation. Its positive vibes and childlike aesthetic immediately captivates every single lover of cute goodies, as you and me.
I'm sorry to give you this bad news but:
Now you won't be able to stop screaming 'kawaiiiiii' as an anime girl to each cute thing you see ! (ू•ᴗ•ू❁)
To put you in historical context, kawaii word dates back to Taisho Era, where it had a darker meaning. It originated as “kawo-hayu-shi”, which it is literally translated as <face flushed>. In anciet times, it was related to feelings of ‘’shyness’’, “awkwardness’’ and ‘’embarrassment’’.
But nowadays, japanese people has assumed that having a childish and vulnerable side is not a bad thing, inside of every one of us there is an innocent part that deserves to be protected.
The current kawaii is a multi-faceted word because it still keeps part of the old meaning, depending on how it is used, it can mean ‘’lovable’’ or ‘’pitiful’’.
The Kawaii Culture Beginning
Kawaii culture sounds relatively new, but it's origin dates back to 70’s!
After the Second World War, as a reply to the harshness and strict way of life, a kawaii handwriting emerged. It allowed the japanese teenage girls of the time to express their individuality and feelings through their writing. A new type of writing as a way of expressing theirself sounds really innocent, right?
Well, impressively this handwriting (Maru Moji) started to being banned at school. It was considered a lack of discipline, because of the mechanic pen by using them, the lines were much finer than traditional. Moreover, they used very round letters and accompanied them with cute little flowers, bunnies and even emojis that evolved into Kaomojis called ''Kawaii Faces'' too few years later.
That is why young japanese girls started to use it more as a way to rebel against the oppressive system!
Promptly, this style became a trend among girls. Maru Moji soon appeared on magazines and manga, and then it started to be present on fashion.
While this silent rebellion was starting to bear fruit, Hello Kitty was being created in Sanrio studio !
Thanks to this kawaii icon, this lifestyle started to be present on every aspect of Japanese culture. All businesses in Japan have its own kawaii mascots (from police stations to hairdresser’s and more) Daily items such as mail boxes, signs, adds, cross walks and more has a cute touch too!
A cute postal box in Ikebukuro district. Famous for his Anime and Manga stores.
The Kawaii culture are everywhere here in Japan. Construction company's got it too ; )
So, now you can guess how kawaii culture was spread around the world, right? Not yet? Keep scrolling. ;) Σ(;･益･;;;)!!!
Most Famous Kawaii Icons
This ‘cult’ for cute is practiced day by day in the land of the rising sun. At this point, probably you are wondering: what has kawaii culture to make the whole world fall in love with it? Here comes the interesting part: it is a kind of 'religion'.
Based on believing that those hundreds of cute little fictional characters are the embodiment of positivity, making everyone feel happy even on Mondays!
Great references of this culture emerged, and it helped to promote tenderness worldwide. Remember when I told you to guess how it spread around the world? Yes, it was thanks to Hello Kitty!
Hello Kitty in Tokyo Tower store
HELLO KITTY the ambassador of Japanese cuteness <3
Hello Kitty is one of the most known kawaii icon, created by Sanrio studio. Going back in time, when Yuko Shimizu released in 1974 his iconic kawaii character printed on a plastic purse coin. Hello Kitty was the one that crossed Japan's frontiers to spread kawaii-ness to every corners of the world.
That is why it was named Japan’s goodwill ambassador. It is really tough to hold out against at the lovely designed features of this little kitty. Sanrio, still remains her alive with new patterns each year and adding new friends annually such as Kuromi, Cinnamoroll, My Melody, Twin Stars and more!
My Melody paradise in Omotesando, close to Harajuku
None couldn’t be happier when a whole entourage of kawaii animals are your idols. Nowadays, Shimizu’s creation is still the most successful licensed character, and has themed countless campaigns.
This lovely and cute kitten doesn’t need a mouth because she doesn’t need any language to reach everyone, she has the skill to speak from her heart!
Cute Hello Kitty sponge towel for hot japanese summer days
PIKACHU The Most Wanted Friend !
Together with the little kitty, japanese video games and anime comprise one of the most important parts of this culture. Pikachu is the second well-known Japanese character in the world!
Its round face with shiny eyes, have won everyone’s heart. Plus the cute blush that makes us melt of cuteness just by looking at him.
Kawaii pikachu plushies collection in Ikebukuro <3
Pikachu is the most wanted pet in history, since he is the kawaii companion of the protagonist of the Pokemon series, Ash Ketchum, and the representative mascot of the Pokemon franchise. His loyalty to its owner and its kawaii looks has made him one of the most important kawaii references.
He has won many friends across the globe thanks to the fame of Pokemon video games, that is why he owns so many merchandising and even his own Café !
KIRBY the pink spherical cute creature <33
And last but not less important, the cutest character of Nintendo, Kirby !
Designed by Masahiro Sakurai, Kirby, has become the greatest reference of kawaii-ness. Its first apparency dates back to 1992 at Kirby’s Dreamland, where its radiant presence was showed and captivated everyone’s heart with his cute features.
Pink tones, lovely sounds, sparkly eyes and an adorable expression makes you drown in a sea of adorableness while you play him at any game. Who wouldn't love to squeeze it and cuddle with him?
Kirby kun in his UFO catcher
All Types Of Kawaii >>
In spite of being a culture meant to love cute things, there are many sub-cultures directly connected with kawaii, mixing this term with unrelated concepts:
''Guro'' is the Japanese word for grotesque or gross, mixed with the Japanese word for ''cute''.
It is meant to be lovely characters mixed with a dark and gore touch; obtaining it with sharp objects, bloody make-up and cute facial features. The clearly example for this sub-culture is Gloomy Bear. A gore pink bear with its mouth and claws stained with blood, created by Mori Chack.
''Kimochi warui'' is the Japanese expression for something or someone who is uncomfortable or creepy, mixed with ''cute''.
The intention of this kawaii variation, is to get cuteness to the point of being disturbing. The best example for Kimo Kawaii is Kobito Dukan, weird creatures with mushroom or plant bodies and old men faces !^^ A funny way to encouraged children to explore nature, made by Toshitaka Nabata .
''Busaiku'' is the Japanese word for ''ugly'', usually abbreviated to ''busu''. Here it's mixed again with Kawaii word.
It is meant to play more on the pitiful meaning related with kawaii. Pug dogs are an example because they produces us that feeling of ‘so ugly that looks lovely’.
Ero for the English word <erotic>, mixed with the Japanese word for <cute>.
Usually, it is used kawaii cosplays with a soft touch of eroticism. Best example are maid costume, neko costume, and more that makes you able to play both roles without being vulgar. This kawaii variation is meant to create the perfect mix between spice and adorable.
This is a simple type of cute. A casual daily kawaii style.
It is about being adorable without being too ornate. The perfect touch of cute without having to put too many items and on a whole kawaii outfit. Putting a few accessories and casual t-shirts is the best way to complete the look.
''Yume'' is the Japanese word for ''dream'', mixed with the japanese meaning of ''cute'', Kawaii ! ^^
Based on a fairy-like dreamland filled with pastel colors, Kawaii Unicorns, and magical girls, made to feel as a kawaii princess all the time.
What Makes Something Being Kawaii?
While going to buy the groceries, you will feel embraced by cuteness just by looking at those detailed kawaii drawings that represents each product’s brand. You come home and while watching Japanese TV, suddenly you notice how these cute characters are used as a communication tool. Maybe you will think, is this an invasion of adorable creatures? Well… kind of.
Right at this moment, is when you realize that kawaii icons are a pillar in Japanese culture. Due to its importance on marketing, these cute creatures are spreading worldwide. They are easy to recognize at first sight, but could you explain the features of a kawaii drawing ? (≖ლ≖๑ )ﾌ
If not, here I bring you a few standards and tips to help you differentiate a kawaii character from a casual one!
So cute ice cream cones in sale in Takeshita street in Harajuku
The Good Proportions Of A Kawaii Character:
Certain details are important to appreciate cuteness, but one of the most important is positioning the face on a peculiar way.
For kawaii characters, both chibis and creatures, the body has to represent 3-4 times the head. Nose, eyes, and mouth should be closer to the horizontal line to make the character look cuter. Probably, you will wonder why, so I will explain you:
Scientists suggest that the parenting urges triggers very easily when we see a baby not prepared to survive. Then, when we look at a character with the same proportions as a baby we instantly melt of tenderness! A curious fact, right ?
Now, you can observe how important this characteristic is.
Kawaii Creatures Have To Be Simple !
Yes, as you have already read it, simplification is the most important factor. Use simple colors, avoid many details and don’t ornate too much. Is better to generate tenderness with less, than trying to be pretentious with many details!
Whether the kawaii creature expresses enough emotions or does not express any, also comprise part of simplification. But how to express tenderness without showing too much excitement ? Eyes are the key !
It has always been said that eyes are the mirrors of the soul, so this part is really important to differentiate a kawaii character from a normal one. A cute look with dark circles, little dots with sparkles or round huge eyes will help you recognize them.
These tips are really helpful to recognize or make Kawaii Faces, you will never be cheated again by a fake creature !
A kawaii Sushi Plush, available on Kawaii Faces universe right here ;)
🌸 In conclusion, the perception of what is kawaii and what is not can be very subjective ! But there are standards that has gone through Japan's frontiers to stay with us.
Something we can all agree on, is that we all have to learn from japanese people to give free rein to our childhood’s dreams.
Now you have the knowledge to embrace this kawaii culture and to add more positivity and cuteness to your life ! 💜 ლζ*♡ε♡*ζლ
Thank you for taking the time to read it all <3
ありがとう ! ＜3