Korea… So Kawaii !

“Kawaii” is a Japanese word meaning (more or less) “cute”. It stands for girly mangas, kiddo merchandising, etc. Hello Kitty, for instance, is the very essence of Kawaii. According to specialists, it blossomed in Japan as a way for Japanese adults to escape their heavy lives, torn apart traditional and modern duties… Then, the kawaii aesthetic became popular in the Western world, before contaminating China, Singapore and Korea as they were emerging.

And indeed, in Korea, kawaii prevails!
The curious thing though, is that everyone embraces kawaii… not only individuals or companies, but also institutions.

Here, two cities. On top, a Seoul metro station, with puppets sitting on a platform bench. Below, Gyeongju’s mascot, used everywhere, from the train station panel to the trees grids.

Capture d’écran 2013-10-22 à 07.36.48Capture d’écran 2013-10-22 à 07.40.07

One step further: corny cartoon characters are also used for educational, civic purposes:
Stoping at crossroads, calling the fire brigade…
Capture d’écran 2013-10-22 à 07.39.28

Another step further, and this is, by for, the most fascinating: featuring the army and the police as funny things.Capture d’écran 2013-10-22 à 07.40.33

On the left, this ridiculous cop is paint on a police bus !!!
On the right, this is how the police is going to respond demonstrations…
And that kaki lion, here? The army sign I’ve discovered on the demilitarized zone area.
A restricted zone, with real dangers, real weapons, real military guys, real hostile country behind the line… A cartoon character still ! Unbelievable !!!


3 thoughts on “Korea… So Kawaii !

  1. Pingback: D158. Feb 4. Window shopping through the ages | my scenic railway

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s