Kosmorama goes Kawaii

Join us as we focus on Japan’s most fuzzy and friendly export: the pastel-hued world of kawaii. In collaboration with NTNU and The Japan Foundation, we present a seminar with a film screening, discussions and Q&As around the subject Kawaii. The seminar is lead by Joshua Paul Dale and Julia Leyda. 

Joshua Paul Dale is the editor of “Cute Studies,” a special issue of The East Asian Journal of Popular Culture, and a co-editor of The Aesthetics and Affects of Cuteness. He is currently writing a book on cute and kawaii. Dale has been a faculty member in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at Tokyo Gakugei University since 1995.

Julia Leyda is Associate Professor of Film Studies in the Department of Art and Media Studies at NTNU Trondheim. She has published on cuteness with regard to gender, class, and race, and co-edited The Aesthetics and Affects of Cuteness. Her current research centers on two topics: the financialization of domestic space in 21st-century US screen culture, and climate change narratives (cli-fi) in fiction, film, and television.

First, we will screen Kamikaze Girls, the story of an unlikely friendship between Lolita-fashion girl Momoko and Ichigo, a member of an all-girl biker gang. Next, we focus on kawaii in anime. We will show how kawaii has an increasingly important presence in Japanese anime, and how kawaii influences anime in other countries. Finally, we offer a selection of kawaii clips drawn from recent music videos, commercials, and live performances to demonstrate the spread of kawaii across multiple media genres.

The kawaii aesthetic, which goes back at least 900 years in Japan, is significantly different from the cute aesthetic in Western countries. Kosmorama Goes Kawaii will outline the history and development of kawaii in Japan from ancient times to the present: in art, literature, fashion, manga, and, of course, anime and film. Audience participation is welcome during the discussions and Q&A, and we embrace kawaii fashion and self-presentation as well! The seminar will be in english.



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