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ERIC Number: ED542349
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Dec
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 50
ISSN: ISSN-1324-9320
Expression of "Kawaii" ("Cute"): Gender Reinforcement of Young Japanese Female School Children
Asano-Cavanagh, Yuko
Australian Association for Research in Education (NJ1), Paper presented at the Joint Australian Association for Research in Education and Asia-Pacific Educational Research Association Conference (AARE-APERA 2012) World Education Research Association (WERA) Focal Meeting (Sydney, New South Wales, Dec 2-6, 2012)
This paper examines the Japanese word "kawaii" "cute". Teachers frequently use "kawaii" to show positive feelings toward objects in the classroom. Female children also are primary users of the word, which suggests that they are acquiring "kawaii" as an index of female gender identity. From a linguistic perspective, "kawaii" is not lexicalised in other languages. While English speakers may say "cute" for various social actions, scholars suggest that "kawaii" is tied to empathy and relationships. Although the "kawaii" phenomenon has been discussed by many scholars, there has been no rigorous semantic analysis, particularly in its use by parents, students and teachers. The framework of the Natural Semantic Metalanguage (NSM) approach was applied to explicate the exact meaning of "kawaii" for non-Japanese speakers. The corpus was information about the paraphernalia provided for Japanese female students. The analysis indicates that the core meaning of "kawaii" is linked to a notion of a "child", and the emotion is explained as "when I see this, I can't not feel something good". The "kawaii" syndrome reveals a Japanese cultural characteristic which puts much emphasis on being "gender appropriate" in society and schools. The analysis has implications for understanding gender construction and expression in non-western cultures. (Contains 1 table and 12 endnotes.)
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Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE)
Identifiers - Location: Japan