What is Kawaii (Chinese: Kung-zi; IPA: / [away] (ymes with” hawk”); beautiful, loveable, cute, or just generally “kiya”, (ki means “to see”) is the cultural philosophy of cuteness. The cuteness philosophy, or away aesthetic, is now a major aspect of Japanese fashion, entertainment, clothes, food, toys, personal expression, and way of life. In fact, there is no other large island in the world whose culture has been so completely impacted by the beauty philosophy.
Some of the most popular items in the visual kei fashion include the popular “chan-zawa” (“honey bear”), which is a type of sleeveless kimono with a small bow attached. This is a traditional piece of kimono used for many different occasions. Other popular items include paper flowers, which are either painted with seasonal scenes or pictures, or are simply printed with symbolic pictures or characters. Paper flowers make an excellent gift for someone you know who is fond of flowers, but cannot get enough of the “chan-zawa”. These are items that will be sure to please with a gift of anything sweet, whether it is a simple card with the name of the recipient or a gift certificate for some local store.
Many westerners mistakenly believe that what is Japanese is simply western fashion or the Japanese fashion popular in the United States. This is a false concept, however, as what is Japanese is far more stylish and elegant than what is typically seen in the west. In fact, it has been noted by fashion experts that many Japanese men are dressing in western fashions because they recognize that western clothing is often very expensive. What is also true is that when a person wears a traditional Japanese style kimono, he or she is instantly considered to be part of the Japanese culture.
In order to properly understand what is Kawaii aesthetic, it is important to understand what is Harajuku fashion. The term Harajuku is referring to the central area of town in Japan where most fashionable fashion is practiced. The term “harajuku” actually comes from two words: “harak” meaning large area, and “kakuro” which means crazy or eccentric. When translated literally, the term “harajuku” means the Crazy Square. Today, the term is used to describe the common area in central Tokyo where most stores, shops, restaurants, cafes, etc.
In terms of the term “Kawai,” it is commonly used to refer to one of the most popular styles of dress known as the “moshi moshi” or girl cut style. The term actually came from the name of a famous street in the same city called the “Dai-DAQ” which literally means “big street.” The street was actually named because of the large amount of people that would gather there during various seasons. Some of the street’s original names have been changed to better fit the more modern use of the term “Kawai,” such as “Suzie Ibiza,” “Suzie Odori,” “Suzie San-” and “Suzie Teng.”
Some of the most well-known Japanese fashion trends are inspired by local flora and fauna. Known locally as “moyogi,” these local plants are used to create unique art pieces that are then styled onto garments. This artwork includes things such as ensembles, which consist of entire outfits sewn together, as well as other more specialized styles of dresses. Some of the most popular examples of wakame artistry include what is referred to as the “DAISU,” which is a type of dress made from a Japanese kimono that has beads attached along the front and at the back. Another example is the “hankaku,” which is described as a short kimono-style dress with straps and a jeweled edging that is worn by both men and women.
Perhaps one of the most iconic pieces of what is away culture are the “omikuji” which are small lanterns that are either painted or simply stenciled with designs on them. These are not your typical cultural icons, but are instead very symbolic. One common motif that can be seen throughout many omphuji is a sea creature. The different colors that are used to represent the various sea denizens can also be seen throughout different omphuji.
In a nutshell, what is away is a style of Japanese art that is steeped in symbolism and meaning. While there are many different types of cultural icons that have been associated with the art form, the one that is most commonly associated is a specific type of flower. Flowers are a major theme throughout most of the art, which can make it quite difficult to narrow down exactly what is away, although a major element in the style is the use of flowers. When you visit a restaurant in Japan, it is likely that at least one artist will have painted the restaurant in some way with some sort of cultural icon.