Before researching kawaii, I didn’t really know where it would take me. All I knew about kawaii was that it meant cute and represented adorable things and presumed it was just a general term. I suspect that would be the same for most of you reading my blog as well! As I became lost in the many google pages about kawaii, I found that there is more than one kawaii – guro-kawaii, kimo-kawaii, busu-kawaii, ero-kawaii, shibu-kawaii, itami-kawaii and yume-kawaii.
The first perception of kawaii is of course, cute because of the Japanese translation, kawaii=cute. However, as I dug deeper into the world of kawaii, I found it’s not all adorable, pink, love heart gifs and colourful, extravagant clothes. I discovered that there is not one type of kawaii but seven! Sadly, unless you’re some kind of kawaii lover, it’s not what you might be expecting.
Let’s kick start this somewhat disturbing kawaii journey with guro-kawaii. If you think about the name for a moment you might be able to guess what guro translates to and if you can’t, it means grotesque. Yet again, Japan has confused me! How can you make grotesque cute? The answer may be below (emphasis on the may)…
So after looking at those few photos, what do you think? Grotesque; cute; messed up; mixture of all three? Tell me in the comments what your thoughts on grotesque-cute is.
As you may have guessed from the photos, grotesque-cute involves disturbing and violent things.
Have any of you watched Happy Tree Friends? If yes, I feel for you because that show is just 1000000000% messed up and disturbing, especially if you watched it at age 10 (thanks bro). But if no, be prepared to be disturbed. *WARNING, if you don’t like fluffy animals inflicting unintentional, large levels of violence and pain on one another, do not watch*
So, there was a point to that disturbing clip; Happy Tree Friends is an example of guro-kawaii…who would have thought?
I’m sorry to say it doesn’t get better from here (for now). Next up is kimo-kawaii aka, creepy-kawaii… This type of kawaii is the sorts of things you find in nightmares and horror films which include slender-type characters. It has potential to trigger that shiver down your spine!
This next type of kawaii is more high-spirited than what we’ve had so far, so you can relax for a brief moment. Busu-kawaii, known as ugly-kawaii, is one that was created to take pity on those who are…ugly and give them something to be happy about or not be shameful about I suppose, in terms of being ugly.
We continue on the brief path of relaxation with what you could call a light-hearted kawaii type. Please welcome, ero-kawaii, which translates to erotic-kawaii. Obviously, this involves the sexy side of cute (the rest is pretty self explanatory)!
Next up is one that most of us could probably relate to the most and might even be. Shibu-kawaii is simple or subdued kawaii and is basically your everyday normal cuteness. It doesn’t involve any extremes, just normal clothes you’d get from Kmart or Target (or Country Road if you’re not frugal like me). Shibu-kawaii is as ‘normal’ as you can get in terms of the clothing aspect of kawaii.
Okay everyone, I hope you’ve enjoyed you’re relaxing few moments because that’s about to go out the window. Say hello to itami-kawaii…
As you can see, itami-kawaii is rather depressing and sad. This is because itami translates to pain and focuses on depressing images which sometimes contain needles, scalpels and other medical utensils.
Now, just because I’m nice, I’ll finish on an actual cute note! The last type of kawaii is yume-kawaii which is dreamy-kawaii. If you can think of sunshine, lollipops and rainbows, with some unicorns and fluffy animals, you’ve got dreamy-kawaii. Just make all the objects cute pastel colours, add some sparkle and make it all happy and you’ll be acing yume-kawaii.
Well, there we go everyone! Who knew there were different types of kawaii? Please feel free to comment any questions, suggestions or corrections (no-bodies perfect right?), below and I’ll do my best to answer! Stay tuned for my next blog focusing on why kawaii has taken over Japan! Thank you to everyone for reading and stay kawaii (whatever type you’re into).