Friday, May 7, 2010

The Land of 'Cuteness'

One of the most interesting things about Japan and its teenage culture is the Japanese people's obsession with cute things.

'Cuteness' is everywhere. From stuffed furry animals that are good for cuddling to glittery colours for the decoration of computers. Everything that is 'kawaii' or 'cute' goes.

Hi, my name is Gaitee and I'm Year 9 student in Australia who also happens to study the language Japanese. For a while I've been wondering what great appeal Japanese teenagers have when they see or hear about a cuddly toy. Why are cute things so successful in Japan and why do sensible and normal adults fall for little pink big-round-eyed characters? These sorts of questions pop up in my head everytime I see or hear the word 'Japan'. 

Examples of this are the many pictures and photographs I see in my Japanese text book that show grown-up women carrying Hello Kitty accessories around. Aren't they a little old for that?

Does this have to do with the role of women as opposed to men in Japan? I know for a fact that the women in Japanese Culture are trained to look and act cute in all ways. My Japanese teacher describes the teenagers of Japan as very childlike and feminine. Their clothing, appearance, behaviour and characteristics, a lot of the time seem to relate to Anime stars (Japanese Cartoons).

The most surprising part is that this 'kawaii' phenomenon doesn't just hang around Japanese Teenagers and women. Some Japanese airlines like Nippon Airways have Pokemon and Pikachu painted on their airplanes. Even Tokyo police and the government television station all have their own cute, lucky characters as their logos. 

Do teenagers really have that much of an influence on their whole society or are even the adults of Japan involved in this 'kawaii craze'? 

From what I'm seeing, Japan is definately the land of 'cuteness'.
The following is a video clip about a very well known kitty, in not just Japan but through out the world. She basically rules all 'kawaii' things available in Japan and some of the pictures show the extent of this nation's obession! Presenting to you...Hello Kitty!