” Kawaii ” is a Japanese word that, although perhaps not universally known, features an extraordinary phenomenon in our society. A phenomenon that acts as a potent disruptor of the immune system of our culture.
The term “Kawaii” means, in particular, all that is “cute”, “sweet”, “adorable”, “innocent.” The characters from which this word is composed in their language of origin mean, respectively, “acceptable” and “love.”
The term initially designated specifically the result of a particular sub-culture of young image, he had such totem depictions of animals, humans or fantastic creatures, united by the fact of possessing features funny, big eyes, curious proportions, light colors and fun details.
From this specific context, the term “Kawaii” then moved quickly to designate, more broadly, a real parallel world, populated by childish little voices, soothing songs, “pacioccose” representations and hold. These are elements that are found with increasing frequency in many areas of daily life: from video games to advertising, from magazines to the gadgets, to the emoticons on our cell phones, and so on.
With their reassuring look , these depictions – graphics, sound, virtual, and so on. – Burst easily in daily life, to the point where an average viewer is not even capable of perceiving the presence around him.
It is, in fact, more than a thousand peaceful images, funny, sweet flowing before our addicted eyes; of those tunes we listen distractedly to on the radio, on television or in the supermarket.
The Kawaii, naive and harmless in appearance, instead uses in a wise – for the purposes that we shall soon see – deep mechanisms of the human psyche. In particular, the human defenses are circumvented and unhinged by depictions that recall childhood and which activate the innate mechanisms of attention, availability and protection that every living species has towards children.
In other words, unconsciously, the human being is attracted and mesmerized by everything that has the traits of ‘ childhood , regardless of the context in which the specific object is dropped. What is small, sweet, funny, is a magnet for the masses, and its power of attraction is directed skillfully by those who know this simple but effective emotional connection.
So, then, switch over such an image to a commercial product will mean significant increase – and immediately – the fame and the ‘ appeal. Produce video games in which the user must interact with funny characters, strange and cute will, almost certainly, produce a synonym of success and extraordinary diffusion (see the recent example of Go Pokémon). Finally, harmless, funny and acceptable images of political propaganda or social load will mean a huge positive force with the underlying message that they want to convey, whatever it is.
What’s scary of this phenomenon is the fact that it draws on deep roots and irrational man : in roots that concern the most vulnerable aspects of our species and that, as such, should be considered protected and with particular regard, to avoid exploitation by fatal outcomes.
Western man today, surrounded by reassuring images, childish, playful, studded with relentless advertising, benevolent, curious, is drugged in his senses deeper and is deprived of feelings and instincts that, until recently, were considered fundamental and inherent in human nature: physical courage, moral and spiritual, the contempt for weakness, the ability to react in the face of direct or indirect connections to their community or to their lifestyle.
Thus, the ideology Kawaii leads to is grotesque with dangerous outcomes. Pacioccose and rounded creatures announce messages of peace, tolerance, innocence, while behind their shadows the forces of dissolution hound, riding the wave of emotional positivity that emanates from these fetishes.
Homosexual love is good, if two small yellow chicks repeat it softly. Globalization is good, reassuring cartoons show us scenes of mixing. It whim winning on law, if a billboard with chubby men of the consistency of modeling clay tells us that we are free to do whatever we want.
The examples could be multiplied. Western man asleep lulled by the melodies and hypnotic images. The action force is dormant, the desire to react is neutralized. Hope lies in the few who, watching, are able to break this spell and get back the awareness of their actions.