Kawaii Week : Cute Culture in Japan

This week at Camp Shofuso we have been focusing on the cute culture in Japan! We made cute soaps, origami and treats all week long getting in the spirit of cuteness. Read further to learn about cuteness in Japan…


cute japanese twins in pink and white

Cute Japanese twins in Harajuku


Japan is extremely big on the cute culture that they’ve come to create ever since the 70s. Making everything cute in Japan was and still is an attempt to bring relief to Japan’s everyday hard workers. Studies show that looking at cute things help you focus and also relieve a little stress[1]. Japanese girls dress up in maids’ costumes or school girl costumes in a dedicated effort to look adorable and youthful. In Japan, youthfulness is extremely valuable. Not only does ‘kawaii’ mean cute, it also means to be shy, to be vulnerable, and also need to be protected. The Japanese take time to make sure they protect the youth by working together as a community. It could be anything cute that Japanese people absolutely love! Cute animals, people, styles, and music – you name it. It is embedded in Japanese culture. Even the cars and buildings are cute, and if you go into food stores – the food is cute too! Japan is home to many cute ideas, for example, the Maid cafe!  


Mother and daughter duo in Harajuku


Many girls associate pastel colors and many accessories to be cute. They sometimes even widen their eyes with complex eye makeup and circle lens contacts to appear more innocent. Besides their appearance, sometimes their mannerisms may conform to the idea of cuteness in Japan as well. Many girls may act “burriko” – which means being helpless and childlike.[2] They’ll even make their voices cute and small! But this is sometimes just the case to impress the boys they like. If you think about it, women and men around the world may act a bit more “burriko” to impress the person they like – not just in Japan! So if you like someone, you can become “burriko” and impress the person you like too!

If you’re interested in becoming more ‘kawaii’, just take some pointers from the professionals in Japan! They know ‘kawaii’ in and out. And most importantly, if ‘kawaii’ is your aesthetic, don’t be afraid to be ‘kawaii’! Observing all of the sub-styles in Japan, specifically in the Tokyo areas, shows that you should never be afraid of your individuality! Don’t miss out! Be ‘kawaii’ today!


Check out this video on a cute sub-style called ‘dekora’:

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