What does kawaii desu ka

Meaning of kawaii - culture of cuteness in Japan

Do you know him kawaii meaning [可愛 い]? This Japanese word means something sweet, beautiful, and the like. Kawaii also includes cute, kind, adorable, lovable, precious, sweet, and even tiny things.

This word is known internationally thanks to Japanese pop culture and anime. It is used to mark objects, accessories, clothing, animals and people that are beautiful and attractive. In this article we see a complete overview of the Kawaii culture in Japan.

The origin of the word kawaii

It is believed that the origin of the word comes from kawayushi [か は ゆ し], which refers to feeling compassionate for the other person's unhappiness. We can see this usage in the expression today kawaisou [可 哀 想] which means poor, poor, pathetic, poor.

The origin of Kawaii also comes from the ancient word itawashii [労 わ し い] which means to move; unhappy; overwhelming; pathetic; heartbreaking. Some synonyms in other dialects are Megushi, Menkoi and Megoi.

The word Kahayushi was in the abbreviated form of "Kahohayushi"And the verbal word was"kawayui", Which was later changed to"kawaii". It originally meant "embarrassed" with the feeling that "the other person is incredibly superior.

Over time, the word began to refer to the feeling of caring for a partner in a sad state. It's complicated to understand where this word came from and how this word has changed over the years, or how it got this opposite meaning.

The word consists of the ideograms (可), which means acceptable, and (愛), which means love.

What does kawaii mean?

We already know that this word can have something to do with cuteness. More specifically, it is a Japanese adjective that is used to describe a person's feeling of affection, such as primacy or love, in a certain sense.

Derivatives include Kawarashii [可愛 ら し い] which means charming, sweet and sweet. We also have the verb kawaigaru [可愛 が る] which means to love, to care, to be affectionate, to treat with tenderness, to pamper yourself, to show favoritism, to be partisan, to stroke and to mockery.

The word "kawaii”Has strong connotations, expressing affection or attachment to young or small things. Because of this, it has been considered rude to use the word for adults in the past, mainly because of its origins, except when used among lovers.

With the growth of the kawaii culture, the term became common to any use, be it of people or beautiful objects. Young women often use the term with those who are somehow superior to them.

What is kawaii

Nowadays, even artificial objects that do not have the characteristics of humans and living beings can be recognized and rated as "cute". We can easily come to a conclusion about something sweet without any explanation.

Even the shape of things in Japan can be taken into account kawaii. Curved shapes like circles and spheres are more likely to be classified as "cute", so even the style of scissors can be called kawaii scissors.

After an evaluation experience between men and women, it was concluded that there are cute colors like yellow. It's also scientifically proven that small things tend to be cuter.

Objects with textures that produced soft tactile sensations were rated as "cute" rather than hard things. A teddy bear or something fuzzy is of course internationally considered cute.

Sometimes "kawaii" is used as an expression of attachment to a personal object, even if it is not beautiful. In general, personal taste may not be understood by the vast majority unless it relates to a niche or a hobby.

In addition to the original meaning of the word "kawareru", The verbal form of"kawaii“Also refers to the act of favoring or caring for someone at a lower level or in a lower situation. Does this meaning make sense? We will see?

The characteristics, morphology, and behavior of a baby are instinctively "protected" and "loved" by humans. The same thing happens with animals when they are small and defenseless, we think they are cute, we love and we want to protect them.

The history of kawaii culture

The first traces of this culture appeared in the Edo period (1603-1868), known as woodblock prints Dijinga represented pretty girls. By the end of the Edo period, some artists were already making illustrations that gave rise to the term.

Yumeji Takehisa and Katsuji Matsumoto were one of the great fathers of Shoujo illustration of cute girls. They drew cute girls with big eyes, which was often considered vulgar. Also because the word has already been used to refer to people of lower social class.

Kawaii as an aesthetic concept began in the 1970s with the growth of the Japanese economy and the commercialization of products related to mascots and characters from anime and manga. The cute girl illustrations, shoujo manga, and product marketing were responsible for this phenomenon.

The great representative of the boom Cuteness is the character Hello Kitty.The Japanese like sweet things no matter how old they are! Cute elements can be seen almost everywhere in Japan, in large corporations, markets, advertisements, TV commercials, video games, airplanes, cars, etc.

This word can also come from China because they use it there Kě'ài [可爱] to denote something quite, sweet or beautiful.

It is not common to call a man kawaii, women use the term a lot kakkoii [か っ こ い] for that.

Kawaii and the burikko culture

There is a Japanese subculture called BurikkoIn the 1980s, it became popular with girls between the ages of 12 and 18. About 50% of the girls at the time were wearing something related to the burikko culture.

Ö Burikko [ぶ り っ 子] is a term used to refer to women who act and speak in a childish or innocent manner to attract attention. This culture even influences the way girls write.

The original word burikko consists of an ideogram [振] which means agitation, gaiato and swing. Nowadays it is only written using hiragana. The word can be translated as a wrong child.

The adjective kawaii appeared at the same time as the writing Burikko-ji and Maru-ji, Koneko-ji, Manga-ji became famous. This font was used by teenagers who wrote rounded figures and happy faces (emojis).

Nowadays anything that is round and happy can be considered kawaii. We can see that most of the characters in both anime and manga have big eyes and rounded heads. Mainly the characters Chibi.

Childlike, innocent, and naive behavior is also considered kawaii. It doesn't mean that they are childish, they are just trying to be cute and using innocent expressions that may even indicate eroticism.

If you want to know more, we encourage you to read our article on Burikko - The Japanese Who Have Too Much Cuteness!

Different types of kawaii

The word youth of the nineties led to various kawaii-related terms that may be a little unknown in the west but should be highlighted:

Erokawaii - sweet and sensual

Erokawaii [エ ロ か わ い い] is a combination of "erotic" + "sweet", a concept of cuteness that includes sensuality and sexual attractiveness. This term is believed to have appeared on forums in 2003 when someone called Sophie Star Ocean 3 Erokawaii.

Around 2004 the singer Kumi Koda expressed her own sexy fashion entitled "Erokawaii“And it was recognized as a general term in the fashion world, so this term was born. Erotic beauty is popular in fashion magazines and leads to other expressions like "erotically cool" and "erotically cool cute".

The clothes were calling erokawaii mix the sexy with the sweet. As a sexy element, there is a lot of skin exposure, lingerie design, use of transparency, black and others. Cute elements include the use of lightning bolts, bows, lace, polka dots, and pink polka dots.

Busakawaii - Ugly but cute

The term busa kawaii [ブ サ か わ い い] is a word that consists of "ugly" + "cute". It is generally used for pets and women. It refers to a woman who is beautiful and charming, although she may look ugly at first glance.

If the term "ugly kawaii“Used on pets, it usually describes the beauty of one pug or Bulldog or other animals that are apparently ugly but actually cute and have their charms.

Kimokawaii - cutest disgusting

Kimokawaii [キ モ か わ い い] is a word from "Kimoi"What does disgusting, scary or strange mean together with the word"kawaii". That is, it is something that, while disgusting and strange, can be considered cute or sweet.

The term was first used by young people in the late 1990s and referred to characters like dancing babies. Originally the term wasn't used to refer to people, but when comedian Angirls became popular in the 2000s, his surrealist demeanor was described as "terrifyingly cute".

Although "scary" and "cute" are contradicting adjectives, there have been many cases of "monsters" being named like Godzilla kawaii. Outside of Japan, too, there have been examples like the Gremlins and SpongeBob, who, despite being strangers, are cute.

Other kawaii terms

In addition to the main ones, we have some others like:

  • Yurukawaii - Crossing something relaxed and casual + sweet;
  • Kakkokawaii - crossing of cool + cute; Used for small cars and Keicars;
  • Kireikawaii - crossing of sweet + sweet;

How the west sees kawaii culture

Although this is common across Japan, westerners view kawaii things as childish or feminine and do not understand or accept how this is ubiquitous in Japanese culture.

However, the west is heavily influenced by the Hawaiian culture. Westerners are not wrongly saying that this culture is childish, but that it is based precisely on children, animals and babies.

It turns out that the rounded characters with big eyes, brightly colored hair and clothes, thin voices, strange attitudes and gestures, and different styles bothers Westerners who consume certain media such as games, drawings, and manga.

Westerners end up thinking that these media are made specifically for children. The Japanese, on the other hand, do not discriminate against things by saying that something is childish or feminine, they accept it with open arms and consume the content as it is.

Indeed, games as well Anime Japanese, are intended for us adults and teenagers. There is no cute thing to be childlike. Japan breaks this taboo and does it very well. Indeed, the biased view of cuteness in the west reflects your safety.

When cuteness is instinctively linked to a desire for protection and love, cultural absence leads to love and affection being left out. Hence, in the West, we have a growing passion for violence and a great ignorance of cuteness.

Why do the Japanese like sweet things more than the West?

In many ways, Kawaii culture was shaped by a desire to end its aggressive militarist past. The media and trade efforts have culturally bolstered the Japanese taste for sweet things.

Cuteness is sometimes associated with fantasy and immortality. To be cute about the illusion of positive health that is completely opposite to mortality. Most Americans value the freedom to enjoy life, regardless of extreme danger.

East Asians in general are not very good at expressing their real feelings in public due to fear and shame in which they have been heavily influenced by Confucianism, which emphasized the importance of harmony between people.

Cuteness served as a buffer for a person to hide their true intent from within. On the contrary, Westerners have to express their true opinion in order to gain respect and trust, which leads to a little hypocrisy two faces.

Cuteness is a type of positive image that makes a person feel happy, secure, and relaxed about the harsh realities of life, especially in Japan, where you have to follow strict rules and work overtime anytime, anywhere. This type of profit generates market profits and further increases the reach of Kawaii.

Kawaii culture subcultures

In addition to burikko, there are several other subcultures, types, or categories related to the kawaii phenomenon. Let's look at some subcultures or kawaii fashion styles:

  • Gurokawaii - It refers to something beautiful and grotesque at the same time. People who wear heavy makeup can fit into this subculture.
  • Kimokawaii - It refers to something sweet and scary at the same time.
  • Busukawaii - Something that is ugly and beautiful at the same time. Probably someone who stayed ugly in an attempt to look kawaii.
  • Erokawaii - Something cute and sexy;
  • Shibukawaii - Refers to the more casual kawaii style. Every day the person is beautiful without doing much, just doing a simple piece every day.

Most of the other types and styles of fashion use aspects that go into the kawaii culture like Lolitas. You can find these and other kawaii fashion styles by visiting the neighborhood of Harajuku.

Kawaii is also strongly associated with Moe, a word that can also be used to refer to someone who is adorable, cute and beautiful. The word is often used for girls who have the following characteristics: shyness, gentleness, beauty, and innocence.

In addition to attending each country with culture, the population works with the following other styles and cultures:

  • Most young Japanese people love to decorate their cell phones with stickers and tags.
  • There are many cars full of cuddly toys that have a character printed on them.
  • The fashion Kigurumi, cosplay, decora style and also the japanese lolitas they are part of this concept;
  • Japanese cuisine is also sweet:

Kawaii - examples of cuteness in Japan

The kawaii culture is pretty exposed everywhere in Japan. Just step into a gift shop to find thousands of kawaii things. It's not just the products on offer, the ads are cute too.

Believe it or not, this is a police poster asking people to report a crime:

Many businesses, large and small, use "cute" pets to bring their products and services to the public. Let's look at some examples:

  • Characters from Pokémon adorned the side of the All Nippon Airways jets;
  • Banco Asahi used Miffy, a character from a Dutch series of pictures for children, at some of his ATMs.
  • Monkichi, a little monkey, can be seen on the packaging of a number of condoms.
  • All 47 prefectures in Japan have a cute mascot.
  • The slogan of almost everything must have something sweet about it;
  • Japanese Post also uses other pets, for example on postage stamps;
  • On Japanese streets we see trucks with figures from the Hello Kitty and other cute characters;
  • There are several personalized trains with anime and cute things;
  • In Japan there are islands called Rabbit Island and Cat islandwhich attract many visitors because of their residents;
  • Each police force in Japan has its own mascot, many of which adorn the front of the koban (Police stations);
  • There are a few Maid Cafe and Cat cafe throughout the country;
  • The barricades used to build and renovate streets in Japan are cute and have a certain character. Look for pictures of [単 管 バ リ ケ ー imagens].

Why do the Japanese like things like kawaii?

Some say that this culture emerged as a movement against traditional Japanese culture and the social pressures placed on young people after they graduate. Others believe that the kawaii culture was born out of a desire to be cared for and loved.

At a time People isolate themselves always more and has less time Consuming sweet products is an option for fun Decrease loneliness and reduce stress. On the other hand, the excess of products with characters ends confusea little bit The limits between what is joke and what is not .

Despite subcultures and fashion styles that lose strength every year. The sweet things stay firm and strong in the media and advertising across the country. Thanks to anime, games, and manga, the West is becoming increasingly accepted.

What do you think of this gigantic aspect of Japanese culture? Did you know what it means?

The most kawaii anime of all time

Hope you enjoyed this article, if you liked it, share it and leave your comments. Before concluding, I'll also recommend some Kawaii Anime to give you an idea of ​​this concept:

k-on - To make anime music almost mandatory for everyone who wants to see something sweet and moe. It tells the story of a gang of cute girls who are in a school light music club.

Kimi ni Todoke - One of the cutest and most innocent novels ever. In this story, you follow the romance of a girl named Sawako who is bullied because of her name, which is similar to the girl from the movie Called.

Ao Haru ride - Another very popular and cute anime that tells the story of two young people in love, but things didn't go very well. After reunification, the girl tries to approach him, but apparently he has indifferent feelings.

I recommend other cute anime:

  • Acchi kocchi;
  • Akagami ga Shirayuki Hime;
  • To Haru Hide;
  • Bokura ga Ita;
  • Clannad;
  • Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka?
  • Golden time;
  • Hanamaru Youchien;
  • Hetalia Axis Power;
  • Hibike! Euphonium;
  • Kaichou wa Maid-sama!
  • Kimi Ni Todoke;
  • Love Live and other idol anime;
  • Beautiful facility;
  • Mikakunin from Shinkoukei;
  • Minami-ke;
  • Nana;
  • Non non biyori;
  • Pray monogatari;
  • Romeo x Juliet;
  • Shigatsu wa kimi in use;
  • Shinryaku! Ika Musume;
  • Sukitte II na yo;
  • Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu;
  • Toradora;
  • Yuru Yuri;
  • Yuyushiki;
  • Zero at Tsukaima;

Cute aggression - kawaii wish

We can't talk about kawaii without mentioning it Nice aggression [キ ュ ー ト ア グ レ レ シ ョ ン]. It is a need, craving, or desire to pinch, squeeze, or eat something sweet. What explains the use kawaii in Japanese media and commerce.

When a person sees something that is very beautiful, they may feel like biting or squeezing. This is explained as the brain's defensive reaction when it comes into contact with something that is very cute, like a runaway reaction.

Things like cute animals or puppies with their heads out of the car feel overwhelmingly cute. Japan uses kawaii as a main form of marketing and lifestyle, which also leads to a peaceful culture without violence.

What do you think of this long article on kawaii? I hope he explained a lot about the term and its culture. Hope you understand why Japan is such a peaceful and loving place thanks to culture kawaii. What do you think? Do you agree with this opinion?

Categories Japan, Japanese

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