When you think about the cuteness culture in Japan, the word “kawaii” comes to mind. The word, which signals more of a childlike sense of cute, came about in the 70s and it’s been used globally ever since. And Sanrio, the company that created Hello Kitty, has built an empire around the “kawaii” culture. Cuteness is a reaction. In Japan, the kawaii culture and concept is often linked to the country’s post-WWII years. The idea is that, because of its trauma and defeat, the country leaned into its vulnerability. Decades later— Sanrio’s new face of kawaii is an egg yolk with depression, questioning life.
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