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Kawaii: A Subculture Of Japan Essay

750 words - 3 pages

Kawaii is a fast growing phenomenon worldwide. Kawaii by translation just means cute. This phenomenon first emerged in Japan. The cute culture is so surprising due to the fact that it is so different from the roles and the typical Japanese look which is that of the Japanese Salaryman. It is also extremely different from the lifestyle of the Salaryman. Other than the Kawaii look there have also been various subcultures that have recently emerged that aim to subvert the mainstream culture this include the Gothic Lolita which is the cute look mixed into a goth as well as the Ganguro girl which resembles a Malibu Barbie with light hair and extreme tans.
There are three main subcultures in Japan. These are the Cuties, the Gothic Lolitas and the Ganguro girls. The cuties are young adults dressed in childish, cute clothing in light pastel colours with lace. They tend to act in a very innocent and childlike manner which is encouraged as Japan is a consumer driven society and the products on sale; whether it be toys or magazines are mostly targeted towards the cute sector. Paraphrasing author Mary Roach author of Cute Inc.: the Japanese save money with cute, pray with cute, and even have sex with cute. There is now a certain appeal to cute which lies in various areas but boils down to being different. The gothic Lolita is a mixture of being cute and being gothic. The style of clothing is the same but the colour pattern is extremely different. While the Cuties prefer the light pastel colours the gothic Lolitas tend to go with dark reds and blacks. Furthermore the gothic Lolitas are further subverting the main Japanese cultures as they are a mixture of two subcultures which are generally frowned upon by the main culture. Choosing to be a gothic Lolita over being a Cutie can be seen as not only subverting the main Japanese culture of the Japanese Salaryman and the dutiful housewife, but it can also be seen as subverting the two subcultures: Goth and Cutie. This is done by not being like either culture but being the best of both of them. The Ganguro girls are the ultimate subversion of...

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