Japan is a land known for many things including its cuisine, its technology, and its history. What the Land of the Rising Sun is arguably more famous for, however, is its pop culture: from giant mutant lizards fighting other equally large monsters, to animated entities with huge eyes, the entire world has fallen in love with anything Japan.
One example is the concept of kawaii, a word which translates to “cute.” However, kawaii did not stay just a word for long, as it evolved into a global subculture that has influenced various industries from fashion to food. Heck, it’s even a state of mind; where being positive is the kawaii way.
The Pearl of the Orient Seas was not immune to the craze, as evidenced from the first ever Philippine kawaii convention, “Kawaii in Manila 2,” held on the sixth of September at Whitespace, Makati. The festival was organized by Kawaii Philippines, an organization founded by and for Filipinos that share a passion for anything cute. The group has been around for a year and has several projects such as a blog and a monthly online magazine.
The event was filled with anything that may be considered kawaii. The Kawaii Bazaar was filled with products and paraphernalia that will make any Japanophile giddy. The merchandise sold ranged from hats and clothing to key chains and accessories, which reiterated the scope of kawaii culture. Lucy Pop, a Japanese company that produces schoolgirl uniforms was even present at the event.
Free ice cream and cotton candy was being given away to the attendees of the festival. In addition, Japanese confections, such as the beloved Green Tea Kit Kat, were also sold. They even had a stall where one could buy curry meals!
Live music and fashion shows were just some of the highlights of the Kawaii Festival. The affair also featured a live art session by Rian Gonzales. Polymer clay and lettering workshops were offered in Whitespace as well. The Kawaii Art Exhibit showcased talent from local and international artists, showing that the culture of kawaii has reached many parts of the globe.
Many of the festivalgoers dressed up in various costumes, from people cosplaying as characters from Miyazaki’s films such as Spirited Away to those in colorful outfits of different designs.
Indeed, the kawaii was strong in Whitespace, which may be an indication that the culture is starting to thrive in the country.