Sunday, February 14, 2010
Kawaii-Ness Escaping the Rigors and Being More Than Cute
The first thing that comes into my mind about Kawaii
Kind of ironic that I'm posting this on Valentine's Day. Kawaii in Japan has been a major mystery for me especially since I'm kind of Japanese culture fanatic in some way. However, the first thing that comes into mind whenever I hear the term is mostly associated with Japanese Animation. Sometimes it can be sexually provocative in some forms especially with the depiction of Japanese idols. In Kinsella's article, it depicts the Kawaii subculture in a much broader and depicts it as more than just clothing and "little kids."
From what I learned from this article, while the Kawaii sub-culture may seem superficial to an extent with it's childish demeanor, it's not really. It's similar to the other fashion subcultures that put themselves in a position in which they want to escape from the everyday rigors of life (Kinsella). Like the other subcultures, the perception of it maybe negative due to this, but at the same time if people gave it a chance there might be a positive outcome. Also, while there is a number of consumption for this, there is a need to carry on this identity and display their expression of what they appreciate. To further expand on the idea of escapism, the suicide rates for Japan especially among the youth are among the highest in the world (www.atimes.com). This is relative to the idea and within Japan especially in the metropolitan areas individuals have developed their sense on communities that they further identify with. All together, 'kawaii' is reminder of individuals especially the ones that carry this lifestyle of the better things that should be enjoyed in life.
More than what it seems
My take on 'kawaii', the childlike nature is something we all hold dear in our everyday lives especially as we get older. Like myself, there are days in which I feel that I want to relive those past moments (in general things I enjoyed growing up). It may be silly from a guys perspective, but Kawaii is more than just sweets, pink, or whatever it lives up to, but its within all of us in how we lived our childhood. However, the question I have for the one's that are major fans or consumers of Kawaii subculture: How do you interpret 'Kawaii' in your everyday life and the rest of the world? Even though it can't be assumed that they don't know anything, the reason for appeal is one of my major questions into this. As for now, I achieved something out of understanding out of this group through this article.
Kinsella, Sharon. "Cuties in Japan." Women, Media and Consumption in Japan. Brian Moeran and Lise Scov eds. Curzon & Hawaii University Press, 1995. Print.
Suicide also rises in land of rising sun