- Japanese culture is blossoming like cherry blossoms with a super kawaii revolution of Hello Kitty.
Very adorable and cute. "Kawaii" tends to be used for exceedingly cute things like puppies or adorable animated characters. The writer sought to incorporate a part of Japanese culture and language by substituting the English word “cute” with the Japanese equivalent “kawaii.” By utilizing the Japanese word to describe Hello Kitty, the writer attempts to bring a level of authenticity to suggest that he is aware of the cultural and lingual aspects of Japan and is not an outsider idly writing about a foreign topic. Kawaii is reflective of bubbly cuteness and predominantly used for qualitative purposes to specifically describe a certain facet of cuteness. With the current influx of Japanese culture in various media like anime, the use of Japanese words like kawaii is gradually becoming more prevalent. Without Japan's rising influence on American culture, various words like sushi, sashimi, and kawaii would never enter into the American vernacular. Modern Japanese culture is full of cartoons and comics, which is a drastic change from the antiquated culture of emperors and samurai. As Japanese culture has encountered a youth revolution with comics, a large part of Japanese borrowed words have gone away from the military words of samurai and kamikaze towards positive words like kawaii and anime. Kawaii serves as a link between the author's topic and English.
Etymology : From Japanese Kawaii 'cute'. Kawaii is a loan word that came into English through borrowing.
Source : Houston Chronicle Entertainment Section
Last modified: 10 June 2008