Hello everyone ~ good afternoon!
Just want to share my answers from an interview I answered last year for a school project / research by M & C (don’t want to disclose their names for privacy) from the Netherlands. I’m not going to copy-paste everything but if you want to have a good read about Kawaii / the way we promote “kawaii” in the Philippines, please go read the blocks of text below. Hehe! ありがとう！
Illustrated by Little Miss Paintbrush
Dear Kaila Ocampo,
We are M* and C* from the I* College in the Netherlands. A few months ago we sent you a request to be interviewed by us about the Kawaii culture around the world.
Before the questions, we would shortly like to explain what our project is about.
We wanted to take a special culture and find out if it would be accepted by our culture easily and the reasons for it. Besides that, we wanted to discover the Kawaii culture and actually spread it through our project.
Most people in the Netherlands find it hard to accept something they aren’t used to. We are also curious about your organization in the Philippines and the way people in your country react to your events.
If you would like to see the final result of our project we would be honored to e-mail it to you.
So here are the questions, you shouldn’t feel obliged to answer them all.
What would be your ideal description of Kawaii?
My ideal description for kawaii would be: kawaii = inside & out
What is Kawaii to you?
For me, kawaii means empowerment. It is more than just a cute face, a fashion style or trend or a smiling character face. Before, it used to be just a “happy lifestyle” that I wanted to share with others but after the recent events, I believe that “kawaii” is a very empowering tool for everyone. It’s a highly recommended lifestyle for everybody who wants to creatively express herself or himself as who she/he really is.
Do you see a difference between Kawaii culture in Japan and the Kawaii culture in the Philippines? Could you name a difference and why do you think it’s like this?
Yes, I do see a difference between Kawaii culture in Japan and Kawaii culture in the Philippines. After living in Japan for 3 years and being immersed with their “fearless” way of kawaii culture, I could say that cuteness is indeed a way of life in Japan and from a business perspective, it’s a booming industry catered to kawaii consumers / everyone in general.
Here in the Philippines (maybe in Japan as well or from a Japanese kawaii girl’s opinion), “kawaii” is about surrounding yourself with cuteness (whatever that is readily available) and embracing your unique self and quirks. I feel that the Japanese has been desensitized by the kawaii culture already since it is widely accepted within the society from way before (hence the Harajuku-style of fashion, and the like being considered as “not a big deal”). In other countries especially in the Philippines, if you decide to become “kawaii” or be more expressive when it comes to fashion, do not be surprised if you become a “head turner” because at present, kawaii has not been accepted fully has a “social norm” here (but we are making a progress with regards to this). This is why we are passionate about making “Kawaii Philippines” a huge success here. Even if our own style of “kawaii” fashion here is more toned down than Japan, we still want or create a noise that will make our fellow Filipinos think that being “kawaii” is not being “weird”.. but being creative, fearless and confident (like the Japanese!).