Everything You Want to Know About “Kawaii” Culture- Kawaii Fridays

Ciao lovelies, Lunaria here! Today for Kawaii Friday I though I’d make a comprehensive post detailing all you could ever want to know about “kawaii culture”; where it came from, naming some fashions within it (I’ll do more detailed posts on each fashion later), giving some resources on good places to begin reading more/ youtubers to follow/bloggers/Instagrammers, and even telling some about my own personal experiences with kawaii culture.

Personal Experience with Kawaii Culture

As you may have noticed, myself and OFT are highly influenced by Kawaii Culture. Personally, I’ve been into kawaii culture since I was about 13 and a friend told me about Anime, Vocaloids, and the word “Kawaii.” Later I, thanks to the internet, discovered fashions like EGL, Decora, Hime Gyaru, Fairy Kei, and many others. My lifestyle and fashion style were heavily influenced by all these fashions and kawaii culture in general, and reflect these influences.

But enough about me, let’s talk about how it all started!

History of Kawaii

Etymology speaking, the word “Kawaii” is believed to have come from the word “Kawayushi,” a word dating back to the Taisho era (1912-1926) meaning loveable, shy, and small.

A big influence on what is seen as “Kawaii” dates back to the first shoji and kawaii illustrator, Yumeji Takehisa, in 1914. Takehisa merged Eastern and Western art styles in his Chiyogami (flat woodblock print patterns on paper) and used the word “kawaii” to describe them. He was one of the first to use wide, round eyes in his works. 

Another big influence on “kawaii” was shojo manga. Shojo Manga (Illustrated stories of a girlish nature), was said to begin with illustrator Katsuji Matsumoto, with the first Shojo manga girl being Kurukuru Kurumi-chan. She had big round eyes and a soft round face. (as seen in the pictures below). Kurumi-Chan was used as a source of encouragement for Japanese people during WW2.

Moving forward into more modern influences, as shojo manga developed we also saw the rise of Mahou Shojo (magical girl) genre of manga and anime. Characters like Sailor Moon brought forth the idea that kawaii could include flaws, and strong girls, but still maintained the air of childish cuteness.

What are some Fashions that are in the Kawaii Culture?

Some fashions in the Kawaii Culture include:

-EGL (Elegant Gothic Lolita). This style has evolved over the years to include Sweet, Sailor, Classic, and many other sub-styles, but it’s root was gothic Lolita fashion. Hence where it gets it’s name. For more info, see THIS post.

-Decora. A style dedicated to lots and lots of accessorizing.

-Fairy Kei. Lots of sweet pastels and childish themes.

These are pretty central to the Kawaii culture, of course there are more styles, but I’ll get into that later.

Some Good Resources for More Research:

Some Good Bloggers/YouTubers/Instagrammers:

Thanks for reading! I hope you learned a lot about Kawaii Culture today!

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  1. Wow. I always thought that Kawaii meant cute. Never knew there was a lot to know about this amazing culture.


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