Kawaii is a Japanese concept best translated as “cuteness.” Epitomized by Manga comics, Hello Kitty merchandise, and the Pokémon franchise, the kawaii aesthetic is a prominent aspect of Japanese popular culture. Takashi Murakami—often called the “Japanese Andy Warhol”—merges kawaii with fine art through his own cast of recurring characters that include a smiling flower and a wide-eyed, anime-inspired creature called Mr. DOB. Other contemporary Japanese artists, such as Yoshitomo Nara, have critiqued the cuteness of kawaii with works that reflect a darker, more complex interpretation of its superficial (and exaggeratedly feminine) qualities.

Related Categories

Related Artists

Filter by
Get the Artsy iOS app
Discover, buy, and sell art by the world’s leading artists
To download, scan this code with your phone’s camera