By Manami Okazaki & Geoff Johnson
Prestel, $24.95, 224 pages
This in-depth look at Japanese cute culture addresses a plethora of perspectives on the subject. Supported through examples from food to fashion and everything in between, it features the lesser known aspects of the kawaii following. Breaking up the book into sections makes the impact of cuteness on different areas of culture much more powerful. With interviews and evidence, this seems to be the all inclusive guide to understanding the evolution of cute in Japanese culture.
“Kawaii does, of course, have a lot to do with aesthetics, but it also reflects changes in social structures and the role of women, the rise and fall of the economy and a sense of national identity.”
The organization of text with supporting images provided a well rounded and strong support for the points of view expressed. Images are important and connect perfectly with the text to provide a complete panorama. There is no doubt that kawaii culture has touched every aspect of Japanese living and has quite the evolving history. Easy readability makes this a well organized book. Although some sections might have been better grouped together due to short length, the separate sections flowed into one another well for the most part. The inclusion of interviews supplies different perspectives and makes this sound like a reliable and very colorful work of art.
Reviewed by Isabel Hernandez