What the Hell is Kawaii? (かわいい or 可愛い)

The following Precure video is one example of Kawaii:

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A sample of several Kawaii images. Click on left < or right > to move through the slides











Visit the wikipedia page for more info on Kawaii,

2) Impressionable Youth

A first impression from the video and pictures might be that of Childishness, “This is all just so immature.” And Kawaii certainly has a sure feeling of the child, where all things are possible, and any moment the infinite might break through into this world, revolutionizing the human heart, mind, and soul. And yada, yada, yada. Been there, done that! Yawn! But Kawaii is in very good company with some seriously profound writings such as:

Mt 18:1 At this time the disciples came to Jesus and said, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’

Mt 18:2-5 So he called a little child to him and set the child in front of them. Then he said, ‘I tell you solemnly, unless you change and become like little children you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. And so, the one who makes himself as little as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Anyone who welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.’

Chew on those words, savor their taste, feel their flavor, smell the aroma of Heaven. Is Heaven childlike, or is it a place where “nothing ever happens” built only for grownups?

3) What does Kawaii かわいい or 可愛い mean?

Kawaii (かわいい or 可愛い, [kaɰaiꜜi]; ‘lovely’, ‘loveable’, ‘cute’, or ‘adorable’) is a Japanese cultural phenomena which began around the 1970’s. It is by no means accepted by all Japanese. Many intellectuals think that Kawaii is destroying traditional Japanese culture. In many similar yet different ways, Japan is going through her own culture wars. This might just be an overreaction. The proper translation as determined by Google Translate, is that the Japanese word Kawaii, かわいい, 可愛い should be translated into English as “cute”! But the English word “Cute” does not properly translate かわいい or 可愛い !

Saying that Kawaii is cute is like saying that the Sun is hot.

Yeah, sure, the Sun IS hot at 10,000 °F or 5,600 °C and so is a cup of coffee “hot” but if you are going to compare your morning coffee temperature to the morning Sun temperature well, Apples and Pink Elephants, one word does not fit all.

Kawaii in the sense that the Japanese use the word is a level of cuteness beyond which none greater can be thought, and it involves far more than images.

We try in English with three degrees, hot, hotter, hottest or cute, cuter, cutest So your morning coffee is hot, and the morning sun is hotter than your coffee or your morning coffee is hot and the sun is the hottest object visible, or we just say that the Sun is at temperatures of 10,000 °F / 5,600 °C .

The problem here is that Nouns are Set specific, where the issue is scalar. While Kawaii would share in a set of all things “cute”, when placed on a scale like temperature, the two words clash violently because they are at a very large distance of separation in value when one is compared to the other.

So a pink ribbon is cute, but Pretty Cure is the cutest, or just use the Japanese word, Kawaii.

Kawaii culture has infiltrated many aspects of Japanese export culture such as Manga, Anime movies and TV, J-Pop, Idol fandom, Fashion, and even pornographic Hentai comes in shades of Kawaii! Human behavior is in many ways cultivated by Kawaii, with grown women trying to be Kawaii in their very person. This theme actually goes back a long ways in Japanese history with the extreme militaristic Samurai wars allowing Japanese women to forge an independent existence separate from men, in many ways similar to ancient Sparta. One can hear this often in Japanese Female speak which tends to be an octave higher than normal, and where the Syntax is different by gender. I [Ore, おれ, 俺] or [Boku, ぼ, 僕] generally used by men and begins a sentence, is in Female speak, I {watashi, わたし, 私} and often ends a sentence in a less aggressive, submissive type of language. Active and passive language is in English called Transitive “The batter hit the ball” and Intransitive “The ball was hit by the batter”, but English does not genderize the first person pronouns.

If you have seen the anime movie, “Your Name.”, there is a funny scene where Mitsuha who is in Taki’s body and, at lunch with Taki’s friends, uses watashi, and his friends look askance at him who is really her.

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4) The Eyes have it!

Not only is this movement linguistic, but artistic where the ‘Kawaii’ style permeates the art. As one example, we can focus on the eyes of anime/manga characters, and we notice how large they are.

In 2D art, we see eyes like this:

In 3D art, we see eyes like this:

Both the 2D and the 3D, are very much in the Kawaii artistic style, and there is nothing unusual about our reactions to the pictures. In fact, the girl in the 3D picture might be considered very attractive.

This Japanese artistic style, compares to a 4D “real” photograph with some CGI alternations:

Most would immediately react to this girl, with horror and fear, as if she were suddenly going to attack the person in front of her, that she is some sort of monster! Now this is a “real” picture, but obviously, some serious CGI alternations have been performed on it. And yet, we do not think that this girl is at all attractive.

While the Kawaii style can be applied to almost any real world object, including fashion, the very clothes that one wears, to hair styles, and jewelry, the sound of a voice, or physical movements and behavior; when applied to the real body itself, there is a physical limit which is difficult to pass. We have very definite perspectives on the human body and expect that to conform to expectations based upon body type norms. This is an observation, and not a recommendation.

5) Kawaii is all about LOVE!

Yes, yes, I know that saccharine sickly sweet taste, the Hypoglycemic reactions into prolonged cynical attitudes of rejection of any and all issues of feelings and love. So burned out are Western Peoples especially Americans about Love, that an immediate rejection follows the word ”love” i.e “That’s just so gay!”

Kawaii style is childlike but a child absorbs love like a sponge absorbs water! And a child will return love beginning with their mother, provided that the mother has been able to give Mother Love in first place. When a child picks Dandelion flowers and brings them in as a present to their mother, that is Kawaii Love.

Pywackett Kawaii playlist, a collection of some 90 videos with Kawaii content

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The Pretty Cure Anthem “Right Here, Right Now”

Interpreted with English subtitles by Idol group, Morning Musume

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If you pay attention to this song and it’s message,

Right Here, Right Now

“You and I are the wishes that connects to the future”

This is not trivial do-do or pollyanish tripe. Kawaii has real, honest and deep meaning. This meaning is what the people in San Francisco were trying to do during The San Francisco Summer of Love

The same that the Beatles were trying to say “All you need is love”(1968)

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These are the Dandelion flowers all over again. They keep returning every year, no matter how hard gardeners try to eradicate them.

6) So What the Hell is Kawaii? かわいい or 可愛い ?

To put it simply and direct,

Kawaii かわいい or 可愛い is love!

And this video, “A Reflection of One’s Mind” is a direct lesson in “How to turn hate into love.”

Click on Red Arrow Above to play

Live well and thrive!

© 2021 Folwine P. Pywackett (mox020)

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