The list is long: pigeon-toed, squeaky voices, baby noises, giggly, cute make-up, air headed, pig tails, flower prints, pastel one-pieces, furry little stuffed dolls, and so on. The popular images offered around the world of Japanese girls are all about cuteness.
There are many possible theories floating around the internet on why Japanese women are so cute. Some theories range from how they are shown in manga and in anime that have a direct effect on young Japanese girls. There are also social demands placed on young women from men to be cute and skinny. Promotion ploys to attract business for anything cute and cuddly are all over Japan. Then there’s the media, and so forth and so on. All of these reasons have some quality.
My take on all of this is relatively straight forward. The keyword here is trends, which come and go here in Japan, along with marketing schemes started by celebrities and media moguls. The “Kawaii” or “cuteness syndrome,” as it’s called in English, didn’t start overnight. I contend that it was started at around the latter half of Japan’s “bubble economy” when wealth swept through the country, how else could Japanese girls fund their shopping trips. Some experts may argue against this by saying the origins of “kawaii” started much earlier than this. Based on which aspect of “kawaii,” they are correct. My view is much more contemporary and practical.
Seika Matsuda was and is still the person largely credited for starting this “cuteness” trend back in the 1980s. She was the first “cute” idol, singer, and songwriter to flood the television airwaves back when Japan was having its financial boom, and slowly its subsequent decline.
Ms. Matsuda has been hailed as the eternal goddess by television networks all over the country. For 32 years her influence has been felt in almost every aspect of Japanese industry. She has inspired years of T.V. personas and songwriters like Ayumi Hamasaki who has also been idolized by almost all young super cute Japanese girls. Everything from the way she dresses to the way she wears her make up. The way she talks and walks is all copied by cute Japanese girls.