Kawaii – jako forma estetyzacji codzienności
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The aim of the article is to broadly present the phenomenon called kawaii, which started in Japan and is now becoming popular all over the world. The term kawaii can be translated from Japanese as ‘cute’, ‘sweet’, or ‘soft’, but at the same time it involves other, often omitted meanings, which prevents us from the full understanding of its essence and character (the elements of kowai – ‘scary’ in Japanese, but also: ‘grotesque’, ‘exaggeration’, ‘absurd’). The article presents not only the meaning of the term, but also the origin of the phenomenon, the different causes of its initial and spreading popularity, as well as many examples showing the level of its expansion in Japan. Kawaii will also be shown in reference to Sharon Kinsella’s idea for classification. According to her, there exist four spaces on which kawaii is highly popular: food, idols, clothes, and fancy goods. The area mentioned as last refers to very characteristic kawaii goods, the essence of which is not practical use, but an aesthetical value and a metaphorical meaning which helps in creating the identity of their owners. The last part will concentrate on the effects of the kawaii phenomenon as well as the distinctive traits which – contrary to the first glance – show the ‘japaneseness’ of the phenomenon and classify it as a part of local culture.
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