Special FeatureThe Cute World of Kawaii
Kanno: I don't think you can make too much logical sense out of the word "kawaii." A person either thinks a thing is cute, or doesn't.
Obata: If you say something is cute, that basically ends the discussion. On the other hand, if you say something is beautiful, or not beautiful, you give it a certain significance, and you leave the discussion open for more opinions. The word "kawaii " doesn't do that.
Ishihara: In other words, kawaii is just a handy word used for your own purposes. Just because you use it to describe a thing doesn't mean you are deeply impressed by that thing, or think it significant. But can we say that we Japanese aim at making our country kawaii ?
Kanno: How about this? Japan invented the kawaii concept, and it is now spreading to other countries. Maybe Japan can use cuteness to help other countries relax and smile a little more. But I wouldn't want people overseas to think Japan has nothing but cuteness to offer.
Ishihara: Of course not. We Japanese don't live by kawaii alone.
Obata: Well, it wouldn't be a bad idea for Japan to strive to become "a cute country." But the official government stance seems to be to make the nation "a beautiful country, Japan" 10