Kawaii: The Culture of Cute In Epcot’s Japan Pavilion

Kawaii: Japan's Cute Culture is the latest exhibit to make its home in the Bijutsu-kan Gallery in Epcot's Japan Pavilion. A prominent aspect of modern Japanese culture, Kawaii is rooted in Shinto expression of self. The word means cute, loveable, or adorable, and the items on display certainly reflect all those things.

Cosplay Is Often An Expression of KawaiiCosplay Is Often An Expression of Kawaii
Many Characters Are Made In Chibi Form To Become KawaiiMany Characters Are Made In Chibi Form To Become Kawaii

Japanese aesthetics did not start out as this brightly colored cartoon pop world, but after World War II, Japans youth sought a diversion from wartime life. Emerging artists drew inspiration from western style and softening design. By the 1970's a demand for cute child-like products swept the nation and the culture of cute was well on its way. A hallmark of the movement is a seemingly endless array of characters that occupy every facet of Japanese life. One of the most famous icons and ambassadors of kawaii culture is Hello Kitty, who has been beloved around the world since 1975.

Kawaii Ambassador To The World Since 1975Kawaii Ambassador To The World Since 1975

The exhibit features several glass cases that show treasures of the kawaii movement though its evolution. And a "mock up" of what a student's apartment might look like. A broad range of products that are sold in the kawaii style - from the household goods that decorate a room, to the products that clean it, kawaii style can be found everywhere, even in the food to eat. While Japanese homes may seem small, the proper kawaii accessories can make them burst with color and personality.

Kawaii Style Student ApartmentKawaii Style Student Apartment
Even The Food Is Cute In A Kawaii KitchenEven The Food Is Cute In A Kawaii Kitchen

The large statue in the middle of the exhibit hall is by kawaii culture evangelist (and co-founder of the kawaii culture brand 6%DOKIDOKI) Sebastian Masuda. Masada chose a conglomeration of little things that make up the heart of Kawaii culture, depicted as a Harajuku Girl. Inside the "melting" translucent pink plastic sculpture named "Melty-Go-Round" guests will see the cute toys and candy, which leave her dripping with sweetness.

Sebastian Masuda's Melty-Go-RoundSebastian Masuda's Melty-Go-Round

According to Masada the meaning of kawaii is "that personal cosmos filled with the collection of things one madly loves." He goes on to say that kawaii is not something fashionable which you do for others, but and expression of the things that you love most. What could be more wonderful than that?

Are you a fan of kawaii culture? Stop in at the Bijutsu-kan Gallery in Epcot's Japan Pavilion to learn a little about the living history of cute.

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