What the Squish is Kawaii?!

Wondering what the kawaii culture is all about? Then you are in the right place! Today I’m going to shed some light on this adorable craze 🤓

The word Kawaii came a long way before being associated with squishies and blessing the world with its magic. But, is it just another popular word? Quick answer: No, there’s more to it of course. Duh! Otherwise, I wouldn’t be writing this article obviously. But the more important question is: What’s the story behind everything Kawaii? The answer is in the next part so stick around!

What does 'kawaii' mean?

You’re still reading, nice! Kawaii can be roughly translated to cute, but limiting its meaning to just cute is rather unjust. It has connotations of charm, vulnerability, shyness and lovability. The concept covers items, humans and non-humans. Think babies and baby animals, think kitties, puppies and small fluffy creatures. Think Hello Kitty for Kawaii’s sake!

hello kitty

When and where did it start?

The Kawaii culture saw its dawn in the land of cute, Japan. Makes total sense right? The culture first manifested itself in the late 1960’s with the famous students protests, where Japanese college students refused to go to lectures and read Manga (children’s comics) instead. In the 1970’s another youth movement emerged in the form of cute childlike handwriting where teenage girls would use text with hearts, stars, Latin characters, and cartoon faces.

kawaii writing

Original kawaii writing style

Initially,  many schools banned this trending writing style, but, given its powerful marketing potential, it was later used by advertisers to market products to the younger generation.

The same period marked the first rise of squishies, and it took place in the source of all fashionable trends: the Harajuku district of Tokyo, Japan.

harajuku japan

Harajuku is a district of Shibuya in Tokyo

The 30 years old concept was to create a toy that would appeal to all ages. And since then, squishies have blessed kids, teenagers, men and women with their soothing squishiness and infinite love. Ever since, the cute culture have been exponentially spreading, but the 21st century is when the trend is reaching its peak of popularity. Today kawaii culture unifies everyone, regardless of age, gender and nationality. Thank you Japan! 🙏

Kawaii in squishies

The love for cuteness is engraved in the human nature, a love that originates from the human nurturing and protective instinct. So, I wouldn’t blame you for wanting cute adorable things, especially cute adorable squishies. Still, if you’re wondering about the options, OhSquishy got you covered. So, check out our various collections where you will definitely find what suites your taste.

Pink Unicorn Squishy

Pink Unicorn Squishy

Scented Squishy Cake

Scented Strawberry Cake Squishy

candy cat phone case

Kitten Squishy Phone Case

Bonus: Kawaii not kowai

Kawaii not Kowai

While the pronunciation is a bit similar to the untrained ear, the difference in meaning is huge. While Kawaii (with an emphasis on the “i”) can stand for “cute”, Kowai (怖い / こわい) in Japanese means “scary”. So, if you want to make small talk with a Japanese person, make sure you’re telling them they’re cute, not scary. This way, you’ll show off your Japanese skills and won’t scare them away.

Thank You!

For reading this article to the end you certainly deserve a potato, but a kawaii one of course 😜

Kawaii squishy collection

Make sure to check out our Squishy collection and tell us your favorite in the comments. Stay kawaii and stay squishy!