かわいい論試論(2)かわいい論の射程 [in Japanese] An essay about Kawaii(Part 2)The limits of Kawaii theory [in Japanese]
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In "An essay about Kawaii Part 1," I focused on the question of whether Kawaii could be considered a part of Japanese esthetics. In Part 2, I focus on Kawaii as a global phenomenon. To understand this theme, I have relied on Christine Yano's Pink Globalization: HELLO KITTY's Trek Across the Pacific, comparing the United States and Japan. Yano presents HELLO KITTY in the context of "cute" and "cool Japan," yet regarding Kawaii, the Japanese perspective differs. In the United States, HELLO KITTY is used in various social and cultural movements. For example, in the gay community, it is a symbol of resistance, while lesbians use it as a symbol of unity. Conversely, because HELLO KITTY has no mouth, the character is a target of feminists who demand women to take action and speak out. Despite this, HELLO KITTY has been adopted by UNICEF in 2004 as a mascot character to serve as a good-will ambassador promoting women's education and women's rights. In Japan, Kawaii has been understood as meaning small, infantile, and child-like, contrasting with the things that signify largeness. Today, the meaning of Kawaii has gone beyond the large-small contrast to refer to someone who is pitiful, odious to others, and is an object of condescendence. We can detect a will to dominate others from these meanings, suggesting how the concept of Kawaii is being manipulated. Moreover, Kawaii does not stand for mature self-reliance, but dependence, childishness, and a penchant to follow. Already adult women who are neither infantile nor small use Kawaii as a strategy to gain a livelihood by depending on the protection of some male guardian. In this way, the various representations of Kawaii have spread throughout the world, but conceptually, it has yet to be fully understood.
- デザイン理論 = Journal of the Japan Society of Design
デザイン理論 = Journal of the Japan Society of Design (73), 43-52, 2018