The Little Book of Kawaii by Shawn Wright

The Little Book of Kawaii
by Shawn Wright
Page One, 2009

Squee! Despite the fears of academics that modern Japan’s obsession with cuteness is infantilising their culture, I’m glad they widely export this particular form of escapism, as opposed to some of their darker fetishes, especially those involving tentacles. Wright’s book covers many facets of kawaii, including fart-propelled commercial mascots, Disney death-heads and kawaii noir, where women’s noses are optional. There’s a soft toy cigarette and a cartoon spork proclaiming “I’m an abomination”. It’s bewildering, but I’m sure if I’d had two atom bombs dropped on my ass and then endured twenty years of economic stagnation I’d be coming up with distracting stuff like this.

Admittedly the kawaii noir is essentially soft-core pubescent porn, and the bento boxes, full of ultra-cute smiling food for fussy eaters, are fairly creepy and look like a hell of a lot of extra work for parents. But anything’s better than tentacles.



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