Saturday, May 16, 2009

This week has been very difficult to follow the compact challenge. It is my birthday week hence there is often a higher amount of spending that goes on. Fortunately I don’t consider gifts as ruining my own “compactness,” so I think I let those items slide.

I have visited Japan twice and was witness to many of the different forms of street fashion that we have discussed in class. I saw Goth, Lolita, ganguro, gyaru, styles resembling cosplay from anime shows as well as kawaii furry’s such as the group of three girls walking around dressed up in full farm animal attire. At the time, I just thought that it must have been some holiday where dressing up is acceptable, like Halloween in the states.

This week we discussed the term “Kawaii” in the context of Japanese “cute” fashion. In Sharon Kinsella’s piece Cuties in Japan, I understood the concepts that gave rise to this cute aesthetic, but I don’t really understand how it has become an aesthetic favored by a majority of the Japanese people. That is, I don’t understand why a teen or young adult who wears a cow costume around in public is “favorable” and “cute.” Further, I feel that the kawaii aesthetic promotes immaturity and a strange relationship between the old and the young, like some suppressed sexual fantasy. In addition, it makes me wonder about the wearer’s concept of identity and sexuality.

In an essay by Rebecca Johnson, she explains this concept of how kawaii was created and perpetuated: "Infanticization of post-war culture [resulted in] the establishment of immature and distorted gender relations." This allowed woman to be either something to be protected (not yet adult), or something to seek attention or protection from, essentially a mother figure. This also follows in line with traditional Confucian ideals of the woman’s roles in society.

Johnson, Rebecca. Kawaii and Kirei: Navigating the Identities of Women in Laputa: Castle in the Sky by Hayao Myazaki and Ghost in the Shell by Mamoru Oshii. Rhizomes, 2007.

Kinsella, Sharon. Cuties in Japan. Class Reader.

Jesse Kailahi Blog Post #3

No comments: