Thoughts on Kawaii: Cute Summer Sake Bottle Design with Goldfish

Thoughts on Kawaii: Cute and Delightful Summer Kyoto Sake Bottle Design with Goldfish (夏の戯れ)

Cute Summer Sake Bottle Design with Goldfish

‘Cute’ (kawaii) in Japan is all pervasive … and it sells. The other day I ran across this lovely and whimsically designed sake bottle from a brewery in Fushimi. It got me thinking…

A recent remark by one of my professors from undergraduate school who is in Kyoto on a Fulbright Scholarship researching manga and anime made me realize our difference in perspective on the phenomenon of ‘cute’ in Japanese culture, especially in advertising and marketing.

As someone who has done a good deal of creative direction and product development, I have had occasion to work with numerous Japanese designers, illustrators, ad agencies and clients.

My professor had remarked that ‘cute’ is a ploy for the accumulation of capital only, something phony and manipulative. But that has not been my experience at all.

‘Cute’ does indeed sell in Japan, and people in other countries now seem to like it, usually chuckling in mild disbelief of their own fondness of kawaii. My experience in Japan is that creators and purveyors of ‘cute’ are indeed sincere. There is no intended button pushing going on.

In that sense, kawaii is something quite deep.

The name of this sake is natsu-no-tawamure (夏の戯れ), it means, ‘play in summer’.

Cute Summer Sake Bottle – Goldfish
Cute Summer Sake Bottle Design with Goldfish

Foodies of the world, what do you think? Do goldfish go with sake? Do you think of summer, or fetid water?

Product Name
Natsu-no-tawamure (夏の戯れ)
Brewery Information
Shoutoku Brewery Co., Ltd.
English website

5 Responses to “Thoughts on Kawaii: Cute Summer Sake Bottle Design with Goldfish”

  1. diva says:

    i’m not too much a fan of ‘cute’ but i know loads of girls who are and some are just the sweetest most adorable people ever. cute packaging is also, honestly, (coming from me, what a shocker) quite refreshing and great for a change. that bottle is lovely.
    something my dad would like too. fish. sake. cuteness. you gottit all.

  2. Peko Peko says:

    Hello Diva,

    I really loved your American Blueberry Buttermilk Muffins post the other day. It made me a little homesick.

    I must admit, I was no fan of ‘cute’ when I washed up on the shores of the Japans, but now I am a believer.

    Your father likes fish and sake and cuteness? He must be a great guy!

  3. OnigiriFB says:

    I think “kawaii” can be taken too far but for the most part love kawaii things. I think the bottle design is awesome. I’d totally buy it just for the bottle and not care if the sake in it was crappy. I love it. It’s pretty. Hrm… I wonder if that can be shipped? 😛

  4. Nice Post! I agree you that for all it’s humor and lightness, Kawaii runs deep and meaningful in Japanese culture. And personally, I love it when the worlds of Kawaii and Sake meet! This bottle is pretty darn cute and I would love to try this sake. The other big source of a kawaii-sake connection is the vast world of One Cup Sake – My new obsession! Here is a prime example of super-duper Kawaii cup sake. check it out. Enjoy!

  5. I like cute for certain things and at certain moment. It is a measure of balance and not exaggeration. This bottle is for a seasonal products. Summer products often look festive. I imagine putting a bunch of these bottles on a buffet table. It would look amazing. Too bad that I cannot find it in Canada.

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