It's impossible for Japanese girls to go through a day without saying the word "kawaii". It's become a part of daily life. Japanese girls tend to prefer all things "Kawaii" and it's their goal to try and become "kawaii" themselves. The word "kawaii" can be translated into the word "cute" in English, but that isn't the whole meaning of the word. So, what exactly is "kawaii" and why is it so popular?

Definition of Kawaii

If you try to define "kawaii" it would mean cute, pretty, sweet, child-like, endearing, innocent, etc. The word is used to describe just about everything: people, clothes, accessories, toys, animals, even cars. There are also different word combinations of kawaii. Most of these variations is the combination of the word kawaii and a word that seems like it's opposite. However, within the kawaii culture, it finds parts that are "kawaii" in everything. Even in something that is the complete opposite! For example:
- "guro-kawaii"= combination of grotesque and kawaii
- "kimo-kawaii" = combination of disgusting and kawaii
- "busa-kawaii" = combination of ugly and kawaii

Kawaii Pop stars

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is one of the most famous singers of this generation, manifesting the kawaii culture. She has become famous not only in Japan, but also all over the world. Many countries, like France and the U.S., where Japanese "manga/anime" (omic book/animation) culture have taken root in pop culture, mane poeple also have taken to adopting the kawaii culture. Katy Perry, an American pop star, is clearly inspired by kawaii culture. You can see that what she's wearing is very similar to Kyary Pamyu Pamyu.

kyary pamyu pamyu katy perry

Kawaii Fashion

There are so many kawaii shops on Takeshita Dori in Harajuku, the epicenter of kawaii culture. When you visit Harajuku, make sure to try the stores below!

View Harajuku Kawaii shops in a larger map
Address: TX101 building 2F, 4-28-16 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku
Business Hours: 12:00 - 20:00
Access: JR Yamanote Line, Harajuku Station, Omotesando exit or Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line/Fuku-Toshin Line, Meiji-Jingumae Station, No. 5 exit
Moshi Moshi Kawaii Harajuku
Address: 539 building 2F, 1-16-11 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku
Business Hours: 10:00 - 20:00
Access: JR Yamanote Line, Harajuku Station, Takeshita Dori exit
There's even a website called Harajuku Kawaii!!, it's goal is to promote the "kawaii" concept in Japan and all over the world. They hold events all over Japan and sometimes abroad, they have a web magazine, and you can also check them out on youtube (