Criticism Of Kawaii Culture

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Rebelling through kawaii also appears in the materialistic mindset that has grown from the cute movement. The childish mindset valued by kawaii naturally promotes the desires that children have for material things, for example toys, over less tangible but potentially more gratifying things like experiences and relationships. This makes those involved in a kawaii mindset vulnerable to impulse buys, something that companies have realized with the multitude of consumer goods produced to target the cute aesthetic so enjoyed by Japanese youth. This has been the subject of criticism, as this is a rebellion against the traditional, more conservative Japanese society. The critics focus their attacks on the childish nature of members of kawaii culture …show more content…
– young females dominate the majority of the kawaii population and that has resulted in those women finding a sense of empowerment though that cute culture. This female majority and empowerment should not come as a surprise when considering the themes and values exemplified in kawaii. For the women who take part in kawaii culture, they have found a malleable outlet for self-expression in the company of like-minded individuals. Many of these women use kawaii as an expression of their unmarried status and independence. One way this is observed is through the self-sufficient “office ladies” (O.L.s), as Read calls them, who will spend a sizeable portion of their income on kawaii fashions and other goods (Read). Another way in which women have used kawaii ideas as a source of power is the idea of the burikko girl. This is, according to Jeremy Read, defined as “a woman who acts like a child,” or, according to Masafumi Monden, “a performance of exaggerated girlish femininity,” that additionally “downplays or masks the adult sexuality of the woman” (Monden 273). This concept has been used by idols to appeal to their fans and with the general female population participating in kawaii in order to attract men and express their sexuality in a way that both parties can be comfortable with. The modeling of kawaii behavior does not stop at the concept of burikko girls, but …show more content…
Seiko Matsuda was the first of the Japanese popular figures to use kawaii in exploiting the burikko girl look and could be credited with bringing the phenomenon into the widely accepted light in which it now exists. Matsuda did this by adopting a childish fashion sense, embracing her bow-legged stance, and talking like a “Kyushu country bumpkin.” Both male and female audiences were charmed by this cute, childlike persona that Matsuda exploited and this success of the childish cute inspired much of the kawaii culture, especially in the female fans who “admired her independence and nonconformity” and began following Matsuda’s example (Read). Now, a cute factor can be seen in many different Japanese celebrities, especially J-pop groups. As with kawaii in general, the majority of the actively participating groups are female; however, there are examples of male J-pop groups using the idea of kawaii in their image and marketing – which makes sense when considering the young, female demographic these groups cater to. These male artists will use the pastel colors associated with a cute or kawaii look along with cute items or even animals in their photo shoots and music videos to prey on the kawaii appeal. Concerning female artists, kawaii can be seen in their clothes, childlike appearances and attitudes, and innocent self-presentations. One popular icon is Kyary Pamyu

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