“Kawaii” The Japanese Cute Culture Part two “Characters”
Like the words samurai, ninja, sushi, and emoji, “kawaii” is one of the Japanese phrases world widely known today.
Doesn’t matter if you’re young or an adult, Japanese females in general are all obsessed with kawaii stuff!!
Well not all, but most girls like me are 😉
Today I would like to show you few examples of kawaii culture in Japan.
From anime characters like Sailormoon to mascot characters like Hello Kitty, we Japanese girls’ hearts are taken away by these lovely fictional beings ever since the day we were given birth, the moment we stepped foot on to this earth. This love for characters is not an adolescent phase and many women including myself never really grow out of it entirely. I mean I don’t carry around a bag covered with plush charms or a cellphone with massive character straps heavier than the actual phone itself (like I used to back in the days), but as a girl in late 20s, I occasionally like to challenge myself to a claw crane at an amusement arcade whenever I bump into a cute plush toy or wear matching sailormoon outfits to a club on Halloween ladies night out. My love for Rilakkuma is so huge that I stood in long line just to get the limited Valentine’s Day special collaboration cake from Patisserie Ecolle Criollo. My best friend after 20 something years, is still into Sanrio characters and visits Sanrio Puroland occasionally to meet the mascot characters.
In Japan, mascot characters have been playing a significant role in promoting their city, prefecture, organization, and company. These characters are categorized as “Yuru kyara” literally meaning “laid back characters” and they each have distinctive characteristics like clumsiness, hyperness, acrobatic, and so on.. which make them adorable lovable beings.
A green character “Wakoucchi” is a promotional character from my hometown Wako city in Saitama Prefecture. The picture below was taken when a ceremony was held to commemorate the opening day of the new line running from my train station Wakoshi all the way to Yokohama.
Every year, “Yurukyara Grand Prix” is held in Japan and yurukyaras from across Japan gather for the announcement of that year’s number one character. With nearly 7 million votes from across Japan, “Shusse Daimyo Ieyasu Kun,” a mascot character from the city of Hamamatsu cty, Shizuoka Prefecture, was named “No. 1 Yuru Kyara” for 2015 above all the 1,727 mascots that enrolled.
Check out the footage by JIJIPRESS of last year’s “Yurukyara Grand Prix.”
1-31 Ochiai, Tama, Tokyo 206-8588, Japan