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Thursday, 5 January 2012


Kawaii is the Japanese word for cute, although it goes far beyond the English comprehension of the term as it could be considered an aesthetic in its own right. The most obvious scion of kawaii embedded in pop culture -world over- is Hello Kitty. The extent to which kawaii pervades Japanese culture is so extensively mainstream; from everyday items to youth tribes i.e. Gothic Lolita . One can not help but observe it to be the predominant aesthetic of goods imported from the country and its popularity in Britain is for all to see on the high street, which is adorned with anthropomorphic pieces of cake (the cute cupcake phenomenon).  From a feminist point of view I find kawaisa and its adoption by grown women slightly peculiar, yet it is fascinating.

Takashi Murakami, about who it is near impossible not to draw comparisons with Andy Warhol for his awareness of pop culture whilst contributing to it significantly, is obviously influenced by the kawaii aesthetic. Commercially the first example that springs to my mind is Murakami's collaboration with Louis Vuitton. Here is the Superflat First Love video, which celebrates this union:

Here also is a video clip from Adam and Joe Go Tokyo, where the pair discuss kawaii and have quite a typically British reaction to it:

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