kawaii Barbie toys

What Is Kawaii Style & Art? Feel The Cuteness From Japan

The word "kawaii" is derived from the Japanese word for cute, which in the original Japanese is "かわいい". It doesn't seem like much, but in fact Japanese kawaii style culture has developed into a subculture that's popular around the world. The author will then take you through the mysterious and interesting culture of kawaii.The author will then take you through the mysterious and interesting culture of kawaii.

Origins of Kawaii Style Subculture

The history of kawaii can be traced back to the Heian Period (794-1185), when the word kawayushi, meaning “pity” or “cute”, was used in the classic novel The Tale of Genji by Lady Murasaki. Over time, the word evolved into kawayui, meaning “cute”, and utsukushi, meaning “beautiful”. The concept of kawaii was further developed in the Taisho Period (1912-1926), when a popular illustrator and painter, Yumeji Takehisa, opened a stationery shop that sold papers and letter sets with cute designs, targeting young girls. After World War II, kawaii culture was influenced by American culture, especially by the Disney characters and comics that were introduced to Japan.

In the 1970s, kawaii culture gained prominence among teenage girls, who started to write in a cute and childish way, using round characters, emoticons, and stickers. This style of writing was called marui ji, meaning “round writing”, and it was often banned in schools for being too difficult to read. However, this did not stop the popularity of kawaii culture, which soon expanded to other domains, such as fashion, music, and art.


What is Kawaii style culture& fashion?

kawaii girl walking on the street illustration

The word Kawaii evolved from the original word "Kawayushi", meaning embarrassed, shy, vulnerable, lovable, and small. Nowadays, Kawaii is roughly translated to "cute". This frequently used word is more than just a word that is used to describe something adorable or cute-it is also a widely celebrated popular cultural style.
The Kawaii fashion trend has become extremely popular within the last 3 decades, with the rising of the Japanese anime industry, video game industry, and fashion development. There are several very iconic clothing that indicates the Kawaii culture. They are typically colorful, and vibrant, with childlike vibes, sometimes exaggerated anime outfits.
For accessories, there are also cultural features that make people Kawaii. For example, headbands with furry bunny ears, kitty ears, or fox ears. Accessories with glitter, hearts, stars, etc.

Development of Kawaii style culture

Girls' illustrations are an early form of kawaii art. Yumeji Takehisa created illustrations on "chiyogami" woodblock prints that merged Eastern and Western art by using round eyes to represent innocence and youth. Today, there is a distinct Western influence present in kawaii art due to the interaction between Japan and America during World War II.

Before the 1990s, kawaii targeted younger school girls with drawings and cosplaying as a fashion trend. Cute dresses, accessories, and objects were part of the early kawaii market in Japan.

In the 1970s, rounded writing became popular in Japanese schools, and teenage girls would use cute symbols and text "emoji" to decorate their writing.

One of the most important figures of kawaii is Hello Kitty, created in 1974. Hello Kitty is one of the most famous cat figures in the world, with a presence in around 130 countries. It was designed with big eyes, a big head, and a small nose, but still managed to be cute and lovely. It became extremely popular, transcending age and gender, and remains so to this day.

Kawaii style fashion features

kawaii fashion

Kawaii fashion clothing is known for its bright and vibrant colors, anime-inspired designs, and youthful style that's popular among high school girls. The outfits are tailored to fit the body well, without revealing too much skin. Accessories are also an important part of the Kawaii look, with classic features like headbands adorned with animal ears or tails, glittery accessories with hearts, stars, and other cute symbols.

Branches of Kawaii style culture

One of the most fascinating aspects of kawaii culture is how it has influenced and diversified into various subgenres that reflect different aspects of Japanese society and culture. There are some fashion subgenres below:


      JK is the abbreviation of the Japanese word “Joshi Koukousei”, which means Japanese female high school students. JK uniforms are the school uniforms worn by these students, and they usually consist of plaid skirts, blouses, ties, and socks. JK uniforms have become very popular in China in recent years, especially among young women who have graduated from college.
A Japanese girl wear a high school uniform



      is a fashion style inspired by Victorian-era dress and kawaii elements. Lolita has several substyles, such as sweet, gothic, and classic, that express different moods and personalities.
Japanese girl wear lolita dress


 Decora is a style that involves wearing colorful and cute accessories, such as hair clips, bracelets, necklaces, etc. Decora is often associated with Harajuku street fashion and music genres such as J-pop and visual k

Japanese girl wear a Decora dress


Kawaii Plushies:

Kawaii stuffed animals are plush toys with adorable designs inspired by the kawaii style and aesthetics. They come in various shapes, sizes, colors, and themes, including animals, characters, food, and more. Kawaii stuffed animals are popular among people of all ages and backgrounds who embrace the kawaii subculture, and even those who are not familiar with it. Many people are immediately attracted to their cute appearance and love to collect, snuggle, and decorate them. Kawaii stuffed animals also serve as a means of expressing one's personality, mood, and preferences, as well as a source of comfort and joy. You can find kawaii stuffed animals in many online and offline stores such as PlushThis, Kawaiies Collection, Amazon, Wakaii, Kawaii Babe, and Kawaii Vibe. They are not just toys, but also friends and companions that make life more fun and kawaii!

Kawaii Raccoon Plush


However, kawaii style culture is not limited to fashion. It also has a significant impact on animation, movies, toys and other cultural events. For instance, kawaii characters such as Hello Kitty, Pikachu, and Totoro are widely recognized and loved by people around the world.
Therefore, these subgenres of kawaii culture demonstrate the diversity and creativity of Japanese pop culture and its global appeal.

Why is Kawaii style not only popular in Japan but all around the world?

Why can Japanese Kawaii style culture be spread wide across the world? It is probably because Kawaii was a massive and critically influential cultural trend domestically, and as the Japanese films, cartoons, and production industries took the lead in the 1970s, Kawaii culture was output as Japanese culture to the Western world.
Later, as the ACG(anime music), movie industry, cartoon industry, and video game industry developed quickly and Japan become one of the top tiers in those industries, Kawaii elements were culturally exported to the rest of the world along with the works, productions and products.

kawaii girls illustrations
During WWII, the Japanese and the U.S. had cultural exchanges which led to an influx of Western culture in Japan after the war. The fusion of Japanese and Western cultures made it easier for Westerners to appreciate and adopt Japanese culture, which resulted in the spread of Kawaii culture across the world. Additionally, Kawaii culture became popular among women during the feminist movement of the 1970s. The culture celebrates youthfulness, energy, and friendliness, which resonated with many women who found it empowering in a society that was often biased against them.

Of course, this kawaii style of dress and fashion is also affecting Japanese boys at the same time, and there are now tons of boys who are attracted to girls who dress very kawaii!

How to Be Kawaii?

Being Kawaii is all about being cute and adorable. Looking Kawaii is not enough, you have to stay energetic, polite, and nice, so everyone around you will feel delighted. Remember, always stays energetic and friendly, just like the characters in mangas.

Kawaii clothing

Wear anime graphic t-shirts or oversized sweaters with soft prints. JK(Japanese high school girl uniform) and Lolita dresses, which both indicate energetic and young school girls, are also very popular. Pastel colors are required because they create child-like cute fashion vibes.
Also, notice that Kawaii-style clothing shouldn't be revealing too much. They fit body shape perfectly well but they are less related to sexy elements.

Kawaii makeup

Use a light coverage foundation that looks natural Kawaii style tends to favor lipsticks to be light and indistinct. Remember not to match lipsticks with heavy, swanking, and obvious colors. When you're putting makeup on to be Kawaii, you will want your eyes to be big, round, and energetic. Use light and pastel-colored eyeliner and colorful eye shadow to create that feeling

Make sure your nails are neat or painted in light colors

kawaii makeup

Kawaii Accessories

kawaii accessories bracelet

Nowadays, there are many ways to express your Kawaii hobbits. How about some Kawaii stuffed animals? Come to PlushThis for some cute Kawaii stuffed animals! We not only have the best fabrics, stuffing, and outstanding industrial manufacturing, but we also have excellent Kawaii designs. The designs are diverse, cute, and adorable; and they will fulfill all your needs, whether for decoration or for cuddling.



The article provides a comprehensive introduction to the Kawaii style culture, including its development and historical factors. It also offers guidance on how to embrace the Kawaii style and fit into the community.

      I hope this information gives you a comprehensive understanding and appreciation of kawaii style.

Finally, don't forget to check out PlushThis for the most adorable stuffed animals!




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