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Cute Culture in Japan

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Lyndon Zhao

on 25 February 2015

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Transcript of Cute Culture in Japan

Cute Culture in Japan
Fashion Subcultures
Fairy Kei
: Focus on My Little Pony, Strawberry Shortcake, Care Bears, and more from the 1980s.
: Victorian and late Edwardian look
: From late 1990s, and peaked in the mid-2000s: brightly colored clothing and accessories.
Kawaii Merchandise
"cute writing"
Pikachu Plane
Hello Kitty guitars and tombstones
Household products
Pet clothes
Cost of Kawaii

proponents of kawaii culture are willing to spend a lot of time/ effort on makeup/ fashion/ facial alterations
Cuteness is an escape
"buffer against exceedingly tough urban lifestyles"
"Japan is collectively a society with a 12 year old's mentality"
West: Sexy & Strong vs. East: Cute and innocent
kimo-kawaii ("Gross Cute")
Changing, but not going away
clothes are designed to make wearer childlike, romantic
girls: pastel shades, lace, frills, prints
boys: bright colors
kawaii is unisex!
Kawaii Fashion
The Japanese History of
"How to look like a Kawaii Doll" Tutorial
Facial Alterations
Lolita fashion

heavily influenced by Victorian era clothing

Maison de Julietta "Harajuku Lolita Experience"
crooked teeth
“Yaeba” (snaggletooth)
eye bags
eye folds
also popular in other East Asian countries
Girls prefer to be called 'kawaii' than pretty
Hello Kitty Men
new clothing line for men based on Hello Kitty

goal of this line: Hello kitty is not just for girls- men can also enjoy the cute feline without compromising masculinity
During Valentine’s Day- Japanese women buy gifts for men from this line to make their boyfriends “cuter”
Men and Kawaii Makeup
East vs West
Beauty Standards
Comparison of Media between West and East
Two examples of Japan wave entering Western world
Gwen Stefani and Harajuku girls
Anime Conventions
Body Image Comparison
Economical Cost
J!NS PC Glasses: ¥4,900 (about $50) plus tax
Shinjuku Keio Plaza cost ¥71,000 (around $700) for 1-3 persons. The Keio Tama Plaza rooms cost ¥28,000 (around $270) for single individuals, ¥31,000 (around $300) for two, or ¥35,000 (around $340) for three
Hello Kitty merchandise alone has more than 15,000 products
Cultural Cost
Feminism issues
Sexualizes infancy
"Women are acting like children and engaging in childlike and childish behavior. Women are tending to giggle more, speak in an intentionally high-pitched voice, wear childish clothing, throw temper tantrums or act purposely clueless"
What is Kawaii?
cultural phenomenon that permeates many facets of life, including:
social interactions
consumer goods
beauty standards
Celebration of sweet, adorable, delicate, and pure qualities associated with childhood
Kawaii Counterculture
Western world: Well built, tanned, sexy figure + everyone is beautiful
Japan: More defined since certain "looks" are more desirable. Ex: light skin, big eyes, long legs, slim v-shaped face, petite frame
One contributor of difference in beauty standards is how media perpetuates them in these two different cultures
Underlying morals, values and life lessons
Students are able to relate to Doraemon--> Nobita
Study shows that watching spongebob squarepants made preschoolers slower thinkers
Stylistic differences
Spongebob and procrastination
Rebellion against tradition

Explaining Kawaii's Success
Global influence
Psychological implications
Economic benefits
Softens social hierarchies
economic success for Japan domestically and internationally
Relatability to products/emotional connection to products (cuteness as consumption)
Difference in art
Japan games: fighting for justice, "hero" image
American games: Realistic, violent, masculine
Accomplishment vs. adrenaline rush

Japanese culture in Western world
Gwen Stefani
Anime Convention
Full transcript