what is kawaii?

What does Kawaii mean? The word “Kawaii” is derived from the Japanese expression Kao Hayushi, which means “blushing”. However, over time, the word has changed to mean “cute”.

A brief history

According to many historians, the Kawaii or Japan Cute culture is believed to have started in the 20th century. However, it may have started many years before, probably around the period 794 to 1185 AC.

key features of kawaii

Kawaii characters are all different, but all of them have something in common, which is they are all designed in a very simple style. This means that they all have small, compact bodies, big heads, tiny noses, and wide eyes.

why is it so popular?

Kawaii is also a means whereby people can express their individuality, which can be seen in areas like fashion, art, and much more.

kawaii in fashion

The Kawaii fashion culture is a recognizable and well-known fashion style in Japan and is referred to as Lolita fashion, which is based on fashion from the Rococo period (1740-1770).

kawaii in food

The Kawaii meaning is cute, so the Japanese people show a deep appreciation of how they sensually and visually experience their food. They try to turn basic lunches into something that is a work of art, and of course adorable.

kawaii in pop culture

Kawaii culture is often also referred to as Japanese pop culture, and can cover a large range of different categories that can include fashionable clothing, adorable animal mascots, colorful cafés, and popular anime characters.

criticism of kawaii

After 13 years, kawaii has come under some criticism. There is tremendous pressure placed on women, even in the workplace, to look cute. 

kawaii around the world

The export from Japan of various Kawaii products to all parts of the world has had a huge success ever since the 1990s. Companies like The Pokémon and Sanrio make a huge income turnover from many Western consumers.