[The Theory of Kawaii]
Chikuma Shobō (Chikuma Shinsho), 2006. 208 pp. ¥740. ISBN 978-4- 480-06281-9.
Also published in: Chinese (traditional and simplified characters) and Korean
According to Yomota, the word kawaii dates back to the eleventh-century work Makura no sōshi [trans. The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon]. It was used in Kabuki and popular novels in the Edo period (1603–1868) and has been kept alive by modern writers like Dazai Osamu, refined to the point where it represents a unique aesthetic. The author also notes that the elements of kawaii include ugliness and a hint of the grotesque in addition to beauty. He analyzes how university students use the word via surveys of students at Meiji Gakuin University, where he has taught film history, and Akita University, where he previously lectured. He also looks into the background of how kawaii culture made its way overseas. In short, this is a very interesting discourse on Japanese culture. (UY)
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