Starting from Kawaii
In 2012, I was an exchange student in Linköping University, Sweden and had an opportunity to attend activities hold by the East Asian Association(EAA) at school. EAA gathered Swedish students who are interested in Asia culture and learning Chinese or Japanese, acting as a bridge between them and us Asian students. In the language exchange events, I had conversations with some Swedish. Interestingly, students who learning Chinese usually because of the practicality while Japanese learners tend to be obsessed with Japanese culture and view there as a dream country. The appreciation of contemporary Japanese popular culture is one of the most common motivations for foreign students to learn the Japanese language and visit Japan.
Once in a dinner party, when Japanese girls order the song of the cute Japanese idol group AKB48, every Swedish got so excited and even can sing with them. In East Asia, “Cute” is a general admiration for any girl, even adult, and the cute culture exists in our life everywhere. On the other side, the value of view might be very divergent in different cultures, cute is absolutely not the mainstream for Westerner. Nevertheless, the cute culture nowadays had been diffused throughout the world and become a transnational culture, and the Japanese word “kawaii” is more and more well-known as well.
As a Taiwanese who is interested in Japanese contemporary culture and living in Europe now, I am still exploring the way to survive in Western society, being envy to the influence of Japanese culture exports, and trying to find the position of my own culture identity. To focus on the scope of kawaii culture, I would like to choose European kawaii lover tribe as my target, study it through observation and experience, and find out a fusion of both East Asia and European culture.