Cute 22 Briefing: Kawaii

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Image Source Royalty Free: Lucky Ornaments in Yokohama Shop

In this extract from the ISM Briefing Cute 22, we look at the phenomenon of Japanese of Kawaii

In 1992, the word “Kawaii” became the most habitually used word in Japan. Kawaii is a uniquely Japanese form of cute and is an essential part of Japanese culture and commerce.

The Independent newspaper in London quotes Dr Sharon Kinsella, a lecturer in Japanese Studies at the University of Manchester in England, who catalogues the essential features of the Kawaii character in her essay Cuties in Japan : “The essential anatomy of a cute cartoon character is small, soft, infantile, mammalian, round, without bodily appendages (arms), without bodily orifices (mouths), non-sexual, mute, insecure, helpless or bewildered.”

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