The intensification of empathic relationships with objects, or the action of turning almost anything into an object of affection became a social phenomenon in Japan. Maybe there are some interesting issues that relate to our lasts posts, related to identity, interaction and the creation of objects of affection.
Nowadays kawaii (cute, mignon, liebe or süss) is everywhere in Japan. Every one of the 47 japanese prefectures has its own kawaii-like representative pet, the same as the police force or the state tv. Big commercial airplanes decorated with 6m high Pokémons are kawaii. Totoro, Doraemon, Kitty, Tamagotchi, Momo the PostPet, etc. are kawaii. Kawaii is the most used word in colloquial contemporary japanese. Kawaii is small, rounded, infant-related, soft and amusing. Every designer of the enterprises specialized in character design like Sanrio or San-X, must produce at least one or two characters a year (although some of them have been born in the good old b/w tv days).
According to Hiromura Masaaki, industrial designer and author of some of these characters, the key is communication with a maximum number of receptors: "to create a character successfully there are two basic requirements, it must be kawaii and simple; because of it we develop simple and lovable shapes, with clear and brilliant colours. Creating a character that simbolizes a communication media is a means of connectind different generations and different people who, otherwise, wouldn't communicate."
The anatomy of such characters would be as follows: globally the features of a sexless, mute and defenceless, with no corporal orifices and vaguely insinuated limbs. In a broader sense, kawaii also refers to whats lovable, simple, atractive, artificial and available, humorous and kitsch.
Kawaiiness gives personality and subjective presence to commodities that otherwise wouldn't be nothing but mass-produced and impersonal.