The Impact of Kawaii in Our Daily Lives: Japan

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Kawaii in English literally means cute. The reference of “kawaii” can go from clothing, stationery, to even packaging. It is the new craze for both men and women in Japan and is fast spreading world-wide. It is said to have started in the 1970’s, starting with a new, cute style of writing. Here, I will show you the history or kawaii, the presence of it in the modern world, roles of females in it and the negatives.

So how did it all start?

So like what was just previously mentioned, kawaii officially began in the 1970’s after a new style of writing. It was after the introduction of mechanical pencils, which promoted a much different way of writing the Japanese alphabet. Traditional Japanese have thicker strokes, however with a mechanical pencil, that cannot be achieved. This new form of writing used left to right writing format as opposed vertical. This style was taken under the wing of Japanese school-girls who began decorating the writing with thing such as hearts, happy face and multiple exclamation marks. With such a sudden change in the traditional way of writing, this style caused controversy within the Japanese community. It was taken to far as to ban this kind of writing within schools because it was thought to be a rebellion against traditional Japanese culture.

However in the 1980’s the “cute” style of writing began to be used in magazines, comics, packaging and advertisements. A person called Yamane Kazuma studied this new development in cute handwriting, naming it the Anomalous Female Teenage Handwriting. He found that teenagers had created this style of writing themselves, fueling the debate about rebellion against culture.

Adults was never able to completely banish the use of kawaii writing. Eventually it turned into something more. It became associated with acting childish and cute merchandise like Hello Kitty came into existence. Seiko Matsuda was largely credited with popularizing the trend. No longer limited to teens...
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