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Kawaii - Wikiwand

Vol 2 No 3. Joseph J. Martinez Ed. Martinez ed. Peter Matanle et al. Organization Vol 15 5. Japan Pop! Sharpe, New York, Anthony Chambers, Tuttle, Tokyo, Donald Keene, Dawn to the West, Vol.


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Chapter 5. John Clark , Power Publications, Sydney, Aoyagi, Hiroshi. Inside the World of Japanese Popular Culture. Timothy Craig. Armong, NY: M. Sharpe, Christine R. Armonk ed.

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Sexism and Culture: Japan’s Obsession With Kawaii

Restore content access Restore content access for purchases made as guest. Article Purchase - Online Checkout. The American occupation of Japan from led to the influence of American culture on Japanese society and the availability of Western cultural products. From the s to the s the powerful economic development of Japan was often viewed in the West as a model for commercial success through its business practices — yet also with anxiety, as British manufacturing in areas such as motorcycle, car, and ship-building lost out to Japanese companies. Stereotypes can be viewed as social representations.

Japan is part of the Orient as viewed from Western Europe and Edward Said has argued that for centuries Western writers have engaged in Orientalism , making stereotypical judgements about the East. Cultural representation is complex, with different tropes applied in different contexts depending on the motivation. A number of stereotypical representations of Japanese men are employed in the West but all emphasise distinctiveness from the Western man.

After the Second World War, as Japanese economic development led to success in commerce at the expense of Western manufacturers, the fear of the Japanese collective manifested itself in the domain of business. With the bursting of the economic bubble in the early s the threat of Japanese male economic power receded.

The obedient, cheerful, and submissive Madame Butterfly image of the young Japanese woman was admired by early British male travellers, [10] becoming a Western stereotype [11] and representing the Japanese young woman as providing a non-threatening image to the Western male at a time of female emancipation within his own society.

This combination of perceived threat and projected desire has been visible in Western media at the end of the 20 th century and the early 21 st century. As Gillespie argues, a transgressive social representation is one to be avoided due to its socially unacceptable status. Indeed both nudity and sexual references linked to young characters in manga and anime appeared to be the key concern of the British media. The interest of Western media may have elements of the sexually prurient Orientalism described by Said.

For example, erotic manga is a relatively small part of Japanese manga production but, interestingly, was imported in a greater proportion by Western distributors in comparison to other manga genres; this made it appear that erotic manga was a major feature of the Japanese output, [18] which results in the self-fulfilment of the Western stereotypical representation. The popular U. Indeed, Japanese television was frequently held up as a source of fun.

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The Cult of Cuteness in Japanese Youth Culture

While acknowledging the light-hearted nature of the programme the representation was of the stereotypical otherness of the Japanese within their game shows and television commercials, and the kookiness of the show and its contestants was emphasised in this context. However, the game show Endurance involved students and was actually based on activities undertaken during student rag activities. This tendency to interpret the Japanese as odd, particularly for amusement, is further characterised by the British-made Japanese game show spoof Banzai! In the latter programme contestants undertake a fun assault course to attack the castle of Takeshi Kitano the famous Japanese actor and comedian , climbing walls and jumping across stepping stones.

Most get knocked out before reaching the castle, falling in water or failing a task. In the U. The most comprehensive reporting on Japanese popular culture took place in the BBC television programme Japanorama , presented by Jonathan Ross, which ran for three series between and The magazine-style programme focused on a different aspect of popular culture during each minute episode, such as kawaii and otaku see below.

However, a key feature of the show was the appeal of the exotic and the different. Features on Japanese television focused on the erotic and unusual, such as cosplay or girls forcing themselves to cry. Combined with a visual style based on the artist Jun Mizuno, Japanese popular culture was presented as intriguing, enjoyable, and interesting, but definitely different. As illustrated above, British representations emphasise distinctiveness rather than similarity and do not take into account the Japanese context.

As an alternative he argues that discourse concerning the unexpected with an appreciation of its cultural context can lead to greater understanding of another culture.

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The Japanese term shoujo refers to a girl from the young teens to the early twenties traditionally from puberty to marriage , of which the high school girl is an exemplar. In the s Japanese high school girls developed shoujo culture, drawing on the concept of kawaii cute and which became a key influence on popular culture. Cute was often presented as child-like, in contrast with a negative social representation of adult life as involving hard work, duty, and lack of freedom. The culture of cute, driven by the consumerism of the high school girl, pervaded adult culture in many ways, such as company advertising; for example, banks using cute images and words.

In this case she is not ten nor has she regressed to childhood; she is actually following the popular fashion styles. Indeed, Japanese street styles led by high school girl culture influence Western designers. Indeed, during the s the term burikko described an older Japanese teen or young woman playing cute and acting child-like. In the s there were concerns in Japan about enjo kousai compensated dating , where middle-aged men paid high school girls to spend time with them, sometimes just buying the girls a meal but also actually paying for sex.

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By highlighting the younger end of the purported age range the emphasis is removed from the older teenage high school girl and her decisions and focused onto the younger, immature child evoking the Western representation of transgressive sexuality and need for protection. In Bounce Ko Gals a middle-aged man takes a mature high school girl to a hotel room, but instead of the expected outcome she uses a stun gun on him and steals his money. In manga such as Tennen Shoujo Man , a volume series first published in , the high school girls are powerful fighters in martial arts.

In the film based on the manga Battle Royale Kinji Fukasaku, the high school girls are no less active or murderous than the boys. Teenage girls in their economic role of consumers had a major impact on popular culture. The involvement of cute girls in shoujo culture may have been child-like but it was a rebellion against the traditional female role.

This can be contrasted with Japan, where youth was viewed as a period of relative freedom and leisure with adulthood as a time of duty and work, with the requirement to take on the responsibilities of a traditional gender role.


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  5. Yet within the media, particularly in the West, the interest in compensated dating shifted the focus away from the challenge to traditional gender roles in its concerns about transgressive sexuality. Along with a static economy, cultural change in Japan by the turn of the 21 st century meant that the position of women and girls and their expectations of adult life had changed, with most women remaining in the workforce after marriage. Although the gender wage gap and the expectation on working women to look after the home remained, changes to the employment laws and the increasing number of women in higher education improved the career prospects and economic power of women in Japanese society.

    Japanese women have challenged the commodified sexual representation of young women in popular culture, while feminists have expressed concern about the sexism within manga and anime.