The Japanese word "kawaii" translates to "cute" in English, and kawaii is ingrained in Japan's culture. It is the culture of cuteness. Things that are childlike, innocent, playful, and downright adorable are kawaii, and they are everywhere.
Think of Japan's cartoonish cute mascots and iconic characters, imagery like little hearts, flowers, and panda bears, and the girlish baby doll dresses of Harajuku fashion. Kawaii is celebrated in Japanese anime, art, and video games. Japan is obsessed with kawaii, and America has fallen in love with it too.
The kawaii aesthetic has inspired global fashion and beauty for years, and it's having another pop culture moment now. Kawaii videos are trending on TikTok, and "kawaii things" is a top keyword search online. One of the biggest nail art trends is kawaii - nails manicures festooned with tiny images and 3D designs of rainbows, pink hearts, or gummy bears. The cute factor is on point, and the kawaii craze is here to stay.
What is the history of kawaii?
The word kawaii is derived from the Japanese phrase "kao hayushi," which refers to blushing the face when someone is bashful or shy. Cute culture originated in Japan during the student protests in the early 1970s when teenage students rebelled against authority by adopting childlike handwriting decorated with tiny stars and cartoons and reading comic books ("manga") instead of academic textbooks. Soon, this youth movement turned into a subculture, and the kawaii phenomenon was born.
How to add kawaii into your life:
In Japan, the spirit of kawaii is a way of life, and it it's not just for kids. Kawaii images are on everything from street signs to menus. The fact is, kawaii makes you smile. A 2012 study found that kawaii things make people happier and positively affect their behavior. According to this research, kawaii has a calming and healing effect. A 2009 study found that cute imagery triggered a feeling of protectiveness, and made people more attentive, focused, and present while performing a task.
The kawaii aesthetic is irresistibly endearing, whether it's an image of a cartoon kitty or foamy soap in the shape of puppy paw print. It's something that makes you go, "Awww," and brings a moment of fun to a humdrum chore like washing your hands. (Each pump of MyKirei by KAO Flower Foam Hand Wash dispenses a dollop of cleanser in the shape of a yuzu flower, and the Paw Print Foam Hand Wash leaves a soapy puppy print in the palm of your hand. So kawaii!) Besides being super cute and kid-friendly, kawaii is truly happy-making and sparks joy for people of any age -- and who doesn't want a little more of that in their day?
The Power of Kawaii: Viewing cut eimages promotes careful behavior and narrows focus. https://www. ncbi. nlm. nih. gov/pmc/articles/PMC6264685
Viewing cute images increases behavioral carefulness. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19348541/