Made in DNA (mopedronin) wrote,

Cute Culture vs. Anti Cute Culture in Japan

Japan is a nation of keychain mascots, erasers, UFO catcher plushie dolls, figurines, notebooks, stickers, postcards and scads more toy items most Westerners over 18 wouldn't give second thought to.

However, in Japan "cute culture" runs this nation's economy as well as its heart. It is Hello Kittys, Domo-kuns, and Blythe dolls that are the building blocks for whole shopping districts of towering neon and glass. Iconic toys that inspire "girls" of all ages to clasp their hands to their breast, and squeal "Kawai~~~i!!!" from the depths of their souls. Eyes aglimmer and pocketbooks at the ready, they purchase these cutesy items and add them to the hordes of other pastel colored goodies in their already cramped yet tastefully arranged rabbit-hutch rooms at the heart of their parents' humble abode. Fluff smorgasbord. A mind-dessert that would leave the average Western adult in a sugar-induced coma.

"Anti cute culture" is by definition the opposite; Gloomy Bear, Junko Mizuno, Harajuku gothic lolitas. A collection of themes, ideas and goods that embody sickened stomachs rebelling against the Sanrios of this island nation. They have bloodied claws, fangs, act anti-social and otherwise dream sweetly at night of Domo-kun in a blender. They normally ignore outsiders, but have no compunction of connecting knee to forehead of the lollipop-landers or wide-eyed bystanders alike. Toleration is not an option.

Or is it? This country is, at its very core, homogenized; it prides itself on it. Assimilation is not an option, it is an eventuality. Japan's fixation with "cute" is hardwired into its cultural DNA. Therefore, it is impossible for the Japanese not to want to make something "kawaii", thus all the doom, gloom, frowning painted faces and frilly cuffs become "cute" in spite of themselves. Thus there can be no such thing as anti cute culture in Japan. It may come kicking and screaming into this world such, but it cannot survive thus. As it is, the Japanese will always first eyeball something new with suspicion, however, nothing, not even the ugliest of characters -- the Nova Rabbit (Nova Usagi) being the epitome of lunch-hurling inspiration to date -- can hope to survive the riotous hordes of teen-aged fans who will eventually smoother it with affection.

"I will love him and squeeze him and call him 'George'",
Made in DNA

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