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ID 29016
file
title alternative
A behavioral science approach to "kawaii" <Articles>
creator
subject
cuteness
emotion
cognition
baby schema
cultural differences
NDC
Psychology
abstract
"Kawaii," which is often translated into English as cute, is regarded as a key concept characterizing modern Japanese culture. Many books and articles are published on this subject; however, these discussions are mostly based in humanities or social sciences. This paper provides the basic data and a framework for research on the concept of "kawaii" from a behavioral science perspective. First, I describe the dictionary meaning and history of "kawaii." Second, I investigate its frequency and familiarity in the Japanese language corpus: "kawaii" is used less often than "utsukushii" or "kirei" (both of which mean beautiful) in the written language, but is rated as being the most familiar among the three. Third, a total of 685 Japanese university students between 18 and 22 years of age answered three questionnaires, the results of which suggest the following: (1) the word "kawaii" has connotations of helpless, weak, small, loose, slow, lightweight, approachable, and familiar; (2) female students tend to apply "kawaii" to a wider range of objects (including adults and artifacts) more often than male students; (3) almost all female students find human babies "kawaii," whereas about 20% of male students do not; (4) about 90% of male and female students fi nd animals "kawaii;" (5) both male and female students are fond of and are interested in "kawaii" objects and believe that "kawaii" objects make them feel good and comforted; and, despite the above, (6) "kawaii" is rarely used as a standard of value for judging things. On the basis of these findings and in the light of past research, I propose a two-layer model of "kawaii" as a starting point for future empirical research. This model postulates that the base of "kawaii" is a positive emotion related to social motivation for protecting and nurturing others, which originally stems from affection toward babies and infants. In addition, it assumes that this cultureindependent, biological nature has been amplified and expanded by the characteristics of Japanese culture, suc
journal title
Bulletin of the Graduate School of Integrated Arts and Sciences, Hiroshima University. I, Studies in human sciences
volume
Volume 4
start page
19
end page
35
date of issued
2009-12-31
publisher
広島大学大学院総合科学研究科
issn
1881-7688
ncid
SelfDOI
language
jpn
nii type
Departmental Bulletin Paper
HU type
Departmental Bulletin Papers
DCMI type
text
format
application/pdf
text version
publisher
rights
Copyright (c) 2009 広島大学大学院総合科学研究科
department
Graduate School of Integrated Arts and Sciences
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