Influence On Other Cultures
Kawaii products are seemingly gaining more popularity beyond the borders of Japan into other Asian markets and it's seemingly becoming more popular in the US especially among the young anime and manga fans as well as among those who are influenced by the Japanese culture. Cute merchandise and products are especially popular in some other parts of East Asia, such as China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan and South-East Asian countries like Vietnam, Philippines, Thailand and Singapore.
Sebastian Masuda, owner of 6%DOKIDOKI and a global advocate for kawaii influence, takes the quality from Harajuku to the western markets in his stores and artwork. The underlying belief of this Japanese designer is that "kawaii" actually saves the world. The infusion of kawaii into other world markets and cultures is achieved by introducing kawaii via modern art, audio visual and written media and the fashion trends of Japanese youth, especially in high-school girls.
Japanese kawaii seemingly operates as a center of global popularity due to its association with making cultural productions and consumer products "cute". This mindset pursues a global market giving rise to numerous applications and interpretations in other cultures.
The dissemination of Japanese youth fashion and “kawaii culture” is usually associated with the western society and trends set by western designers borrowed or taken from Japan With the emergence of China, South Korea, and even Singapore as economic centers in Asia, the Kawaii merchandise and product popularity has shifted back to the east. In these Asian markets, the kawaii concept takes on various forms and different types of presentation depending on the target audience.
Taiwan culture, in particular government, has embraced and elevated kawaii to a new level of social consciousness. The introduction of the A-Bian doll was seen as the development of a symbol to advance democracy and assist in constructing a collective imagination and national identity for Taiwanese. The A-Bian dolls are kawaii likeness of sports figure, famous individuals, and now political figures that use kawaii images as a means of self-promotion and potential votes. The creation of the A-Bian doll has allowed Taiwanese President Chen staffers to create a new culture where the "kawaii" image of a politician can be used to mobilize supports, and gain election votes. Japanese popular "kawaii culture" has had an effect on Singaporean youth. The emergence of Japanese culture can be traced back to the mid-1980s when Japan became one of the economic powers in the world. Kawaii has developed from a few kid television shows to an internet sensation. Japanese media is used so abundantly in Singapore that youths are more likely to imitate the fashion of their Japanese idols, learn the Japanese language, and continue purchasing Japanese oriented merchandise.
The Asian countries of China, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Thailand either produce kawaii items for international consumption or have websites that cater for kawaii as part of the youth culture in their country. Kawaii has taken on a life of its own, spawning the formation of kawaii websites, kawaii home pages and finally kawaii social networking pages. While Japan is the origin and Mecca of all things being kawaii, artists and businesses around the world are imitating the kawaii theme. Kawaii has truly become “greater” than itself. The interconnectedness of today’s world via the internet has taken kawaii to new heights of exposure and acceptance, producing a kawaii “movement”. The popularity of kawaii and kawaii products have become a part of the “world’s culture”
The Kawaii concept has become something of a global phenomenon. The aesthetic cuteness of Japan is very appealing to people globally. The wide popularity of Japanese kawaii is often credited with it being “culturally odorless.” The elimination of exoticism and national branding has helped kawaii to reach numerous target audiences and to span every culture, class, and gender group. The odorless and tastelessness of kawaii has made it a global hit, resulting in Japan's global image shifting from being known for austere rock gardens to being known for "cute-worship".
Read more about this topic: Kawaii/Archive 2
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