Department or Program

East Asian Languages and Literatures

Title of Approved Individual Major

Japanese Language and Culture

Primary Wellesley Thesis Advisor

Eve Zimmerman


Cuteness is an aesthetic response between a viewer and an object. There is a spectrum of cuteness that allows the viewer to feel a variety of emotions based on the object they are interacting with. What is the power behind these objects that makes the viewer develop feelings for them? Cute items in Japanese society are closely associated with the feminine and the vulnerable. The largest consumer of cute products in Japanese is the shōjo (young lady). The shōjo uses cute objects to create an atmosphere around herself, allowing her to be empowered in the patriarchal society of Japan.