Thoughts on Kawaii: Cute and Delightful Summer Kyoto Sake Bottle Design with Goldfish (夏の戯れ)
‘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
Foodies of the world, what do you think? Do goldfish go with sake? Do you think of summer, or fetid water?
Shoutoku Brewery Co., Ltd.