so, camping may or may not be my thing.
i can’t believe i’m still finding mosquito bites and we’ve been back for almost a day.
roses are red
violets are blue
i’m crying over fictional lesbians
THE BEGINNINGS OF KAWAII
No, no, you have no idea. It actually IS the beginning of the whole so-called “kawaii culture”. And it started because girls started using mechanical pencils, which provided fine handwriting. After being banished (more precisely, during the 80s), this kind of writing started being used in products like magazines and make-up. And, during this time, icons we usually associate with the whole kawaii industry (like the characters from Sanrio) came to life too.
And what many people don’t realize is that this subculture was born as a way for young girls to express themselves in their own way. And it was also used as something against the adult life and the traditional culture, often seen as dull and boring and oppressive. By embracing cuteness, these young girls (and adult women, after a while) were showing non-conformation with the current standards.
So yep. Kawaii is important, and it all started with cute, simple handwritting a few hearts and cat faces in some girls’ school notebooks <3
NO OK THIS IS SO IMPORTANT!
This is also how the kawaii fashions started! Girls began dressing in cute and off beat styles for themsleves, they were criticized by adult figures telling them “you’ll never find a husband if you dress that way!” to which they began to reply “Good!”
All the japanese subcultures and fashions that evolved out of this became a rebellion to tradition and the starch gender roles and expectations the adults were forcing on the younger generations. As early as the 70s and still to this day you’ll see an emphasis on child-like fashion and themes in more kawaii styles and the dismissal of the male gaze with styles like lolita (a lot of western people assume lolita is somehow sexual due to the name of the fashion, but ask any japanese lolita and they will tell you that men hate the style and find it unattractive which is sometimes a large reason they gravitate towards the style - they can express their femininity and individuality while remaining independent and without the pressure to appeal to men)
Its so so so important to understand the hyper cute and ‘odd’ fashions of Japanese girls carry such a huge message of feminism and reclaiming of their own lives.
so are you telling me that Japan’s punk phase was really the kawaii phase
This is true and then not true - ‘Kawaii Culture’ has been around longer than the 1970s and 80s; try more like the 1900s. If you’re interested in the origin of Kawaii Culture and Kawaii Culture’s long history key search words you may want to investigate are “Yumeji Takehisa” and “Fancy Goods”.
Kawaii Culture is about many things, yes primarily girls doing what they want; but it starts from a place of an attempt to insert more art into one’s daily life in the form of expressive and personalized items such as hankies, stationary, umbrellas, and towels - which is a tradition that continues on today. Kawaii fashion trends such as the Decora style are derivative of Fancy Good’s tie to today’s Kawaii Culture.
If you want more information on Kawaii Culture I suggest Manami Okazaki’s Kawaii!: Japan’s Culture of Cute or Women, Media, and Consumption in Japan. There is a lot more history and cultural significance, and contradiction, involving Kawaii Culture than maru ji (round writing), so don’t just stop here! Keep digging.
I will live with my sorrow, I will live my own life! I will defeat sorrow, in his place. I will stand my ground and be strong. I don’t know when it will be but someday, I will conquer it.