Kawaii

Japanese term meaning cute

Japanese Culture Kawaii

Kawaii 可愛

Kawaii is a Japanese term which means "cute". Cuteness seems to be a highly valued aesthetic quality in Japanese society and particularly Japanese pop culture, and overpowering cuteness seems to carry less of the stigma of infantilization as it does in many other cultures. Kawaii is pronounced /ka.wa.ii/ (not to be confused with "kowai", /ko.wa.i/ the Japanese term for "scary"). "Kawaii" can be used to describe animals and people, including fully grown adults; while attractive women are usually described as "kawaii," young men are more likely to be described as kakkō-ii, meaning "good looking" or "cool". "Kawaii" is also used to describe some men who are considered to have "cute" personalities. Women's costumes and dress reflect this belief in cuteness and visual appeal. Below are two symbols in Japan that are "Kawaii":

As a cultural phenomenon, cuteness is increasingly accepted in Japan as a part of Japanese culture and national identity. Tomoyuki Sugiyama, author of "Cool Japan" believes that "cuteness" is rooted in Japan's harmony-loving culture, and Nobuyoshi Kurita, a sociology professor at Musashi University in Tokyo, has stated that "cute" is a "magic term" that encompasses everything that's acceptable and desirable in Japan.

On the other hand, the minority of Japanese skeptical of cuteness consider it a sign of an infantile mentality. In particular, Hiroto Murasawa, professor of beauty and culture at Osaka Shoin Women’s University asserts that cuteness is "a mentality that breeds non-assertion ... Individuals who choose to stand out get beaten down."

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