Friday, May 22, 2009


My friend was supposed to be in Japan right now, but she had to cancel her plans due the swine flu paranoia there. So this post is dedicated to you, Joan!

I liked Hello Kitty and her friends when I was little and I happened across the word Kawaii today while surfing the web for purchasing zippers. I figured it has something to do with Japanese stuff so I looked it up. There turns out to be an interesting history ...

The Wiki entry:
Since the 1970s, Kawaii (可愛さ kawaisa) has become a prominent aspect of popular Japanese culture. Foreign observers often find this cuteness intriguing, revolting or even childish because the Japanese employ it in a vast array of situations and demographics where, in other cultures, it would be considered incongruously juvenile or frivolous (for example, in government publications, public service warnings, office environments, military advertisements, and commercial airliners, among many others). It emerged in the 1970’s as part of a new style of writing. Many teenage girls began to write laterally using mechanical pencils. These pencils produced very fine lines, as opposed to traditional Japanese writiing that varied in thickness and was vertical. Also, the girls would write in big, round characters and they added little pictures to their writing, such as hearts, stars, smiley faces, and English letters. These pictures would be inserted randomly and made the writing very hard to read. As a result, this writing style caused a lot of controversy and was banned in many schools. During the 1980’s, however, this cute new writing was adopted by magazines and comics. and was put onto packaging and advertising. From 1984-86, Yamane Kazuma studied the development of cute handwriting, which he called Anomalous Female Teenage Handwriting, in depth. Although it was commonly thought that the writing style was something that teenagers had picked up from comics, he found that teenagers had come up with the style themselves, as part of an underground movement.

Here are some images of this great Japanses way of keeping life playful and adolescent. (Which is all I want to be lately)...A Bank Card

More Condoms

1 comment:

marycatharine said...

I went to school with lots of girls of Japanese decent and they had so much "cute" stuff it was almost overwhelming. I hope your friend gets to go on her trip soon!