「未熟性」のジャパン・ポップ : 海外における受容について / Development of Japanese-pop infantilism abroad – Observation of contemporary fashion and specialized makeup

「カワイイ」カルチャーで知られる日本現代大衆文化は、これまで、それらのあまりに目を引く流行現象としてのロリータ、コスプレ、ギャル文化についてはしばしば注目をあつめ、研究されて来ました。でも、今回はそのような誰が見ても特出した現象ではなく、「大衆文化」の「大衆」に立ち戻って、もっと一般的に受け入れられているスタイル(ファッションとメイク)について、そこに既に見られる未熟性への憧れと中途半端な大人っぽ願望に着目し、その背後にある、まさに「カワイイ・カルチャー」を流行に導くものについて考えてみることにしました。

9月17日に、ブルガリアの国際記号学会で、室井尚さんがチェアをするこちらのラウンドテーブル »SEMIOTICS OF POP-CULTURE Focusing on the analysis and effects of the JAPAN POP« で、参加されるみなさんといっしょに発表します。わくわく。
http://semio2014.org/en/semiotics-of-pop-culture-japan-pop

スクリーンショット 2014-09-13 15.57.06

Development of Japanese-pop infantilism abroad – Observation of contemporary fashion and specialized makeup

Introduction:
I will analyze Japanese contemporary fashion and makeup observed among today’s youth, especially on girls. Japanese-pop fashion characterized as « Kawaii » (“very cute” in Japanese) embraces an infantilism, or babyishness. Its influence has taken a profound hold in some European countries. I will present a theory of universal characteristics in Japanese contemporary fashion.

I am especially interested in the remarkable crossing over of bizarre Japanese pop culture into western populations who don’t share any cultural background. Foreigners who take special interest in this original culture have brought attention to it in their own countries, where it takes hold progressively and develops in different manners in different places. European countries have a completely different geological context in comparison to Japan. Japan is an isolated island while European countries are loosely connected to one other. This geological difference affects cultural issues. The surpassing of cultural frontiers and international acceptance of the specialized universe of Japanese pop means the potential to become something universal and ubiquitous.

Several years ago, in my class of Univesrity Paris 8 (France), I introduced emoticons (Kaomoji, in Japanese, ex.o(^-^)o ) along with a sociological analysis of the effect of frequent emoticon usage. I suggested that these typographic representations of human facial expressions meant to imitate real human expression and portray emotion could, in turn, affect human gesture and behaviour. To my surprise, at that time, European people found my suggestion ridiculous, declaring these effects relevant only to Japanese people, not to Westerners. However, today, I can point out clear influences from Japanese animations and mangas on various behaviours including gesture, facial expression and onomatopoeia. Emoticons have become very familiar and young people are influenced by their appearance throughout their activities on social medias.

In general, socio-cultural studies focusing on Kawaii culture and the infantility of Japanese contemporary fashion deal with extreme style such as Lolita or Gothique Lolita. Then there are studies of radical or eccentric cultures such as Cosplay. In my opinion, Japanese pop culture is something like “air” surrounding us daily and its penetration into foreign cultures is absolutely significant. In my report, I attempt to theorize a study of traversing cultural borders, focusing not only on extreme style but also a fashion loosely accepted and appreciated by ordinary people.

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