I love books and I love kawaii, so I was excited to receive a review copy of Kawaii! Japan’s Culture of Cute by Manami Okazaki.
It’s a colourful paperback full of kawaii photos, products, profiles and history giving you a great overview of what kawaii is and how it evolved and expanded to become a recognisable culture that infiltrates all aspects in Japan and worldwide.
The first section was the most interesting to me as it covers the first kawaii designers of ‘fancy goods’ and manga for girls. Some of the early designs don’t look cute at all compared to the characters we know and love today, but you can recognise the pattern of big foreheads, big eyes, candy colours and cute girls and animals.
There are also profiles of famous kawaii brands and characters like Hello Kitty, San-X, Gloomy Bear and Tokidoki and sections on food and bento, fashion and cosplay, cute crafts and visual art. They also feature a few shops, museums and events in Japan that you can visit, including the Design Festa, Comiket, Kyoto Manga Museum and these cute fruit bus stops! There’s even a handy illustrated map of Harajuku that’s ideal for any kawaii fashion fans planning a trip to Japan.
If you’re a fan of kawaii, I definitely recommend this book – you’re certain to learn something and there’s something for all fans of kawaii, from traditional kokeshi and kimono to Lolita fashion and cosplay. The book itself is really nice to look through with big photos and illustrations, plus candy colour pages!
You can pick up a copy at Amazon or order it from any book store.
Marceline is the co-founder and editor of Super Cute Kawaii and the author of The Super Cute Book of Kawaii. She lives by the seaside in Scotland in a flat full of kawaii, creating cute character goods as Asking For Trouble, working on endless craft projects and playing Nintendo.