If you've ever travelled to Japan, or if you've ever collected Pokemon cards or drawn cat faces on your pancakes, then you are probably familiar with kawaii.
Often mentioned alongside anime and manga, kawaii refers to a cultural style that incorporates bright, pastel colors and childlike imagery. In Japanese, the word kawaii has a meaning that sits more or less at the juncture of "cute," "tiny," or "lovable." The cute aesthetic—with its bold, nearly cartoon-like lines and rounded forms—informs a large segment of Japanese popular culture.
The most famous example of kawaii culture is probably Hello Kitty, the ubiquitous white feline character whose image emblazons an ever-expanding range of products and accessories. The character was commissioned by a company called Sanrio, founded by Shintaro Tsuji, in 1974, with a plastic coin purse as the first product bearing the image. Now Hello Kitty is found on everything from backpacks to food trucks to duct tape to kitchen appliances to adult toys. Even though the character was originally intended for preteen girls, its limitless branding has pushed it into essentially every demographic and business sectors that have nothing to do with childhood.
Below are some images of Kawaii Stuff!