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Japanese culture has spread like wildfire across the globe. More and more people have grown accustomed to using Japanese terms in their vernacular and many people recognize Japanese when they hear common words. If you consider yourself an otaku or anything close to it, there is a good chance that you say “Nani” on a daily basis.


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With the increasing popularity of anime and manga, Japanese culture is finding its way into various nooks and crannies of cultures worldwide. Anime such as Naruto, DeathNote, One Piece, Fairytail and the like have made many fans want to embrace and become a part of the Japanese culture. One Japanese word that gets tossed around often these days is none other than “Kawaii”.

So, what exactly is Kawaii? Kawaii is being cute or lovable according to Japanese culture. The word can refer to people, inanimate objects, or outfits etc.

How to be Kawaii?

Many people want to take things to the next level and become the definition of cuteness according to Japanese culture. The hustle is quite real, and the grind to becoming as Kawaii as they can be isn’t an easy task.

So, what should you do? How can you turn heads because of your unmistakable likeability? Here are some steps to look the part, act the part and awaken your inner Kawaii.

Dress to Impress

Like with any look, really, being Kawaii comes with its own rules on how you dress and look. It’s really important here not to confuse just looking good with looking Kawaii. To make sure you never make this confusion, follow this rule of thumb: Kawaii is always a good look, but not all good looks are necessarily Kawaii.

Now that you have that out of the way, what should you aim for in terms of appearance if you are on a quest to become as Kawaii as possible? For starters, pant suits and formal wear: not Kawaii. Yes, it looks good (to most people at least), but again, not all good looks are Kawaii, so scratch suits off your list. What does look Kawaii? Anime make-up, cute skirts and some accessories can surely help you on your way to looking Kawaii.

looking Kawaii
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Costume Parties

These are the best opportunities to look as Kawaii as possible. Costume parties and events like Halloween allow you to dress up in costumes that you can’t wear on a day to day basis. When events such as these come around, be sure to take full advantage of them.

Dressing up as your favourite anime characters is a good way to go as well. Many animals such as cats and rabbits are considered Kawaii too, so dressing up in a cute animal costume is also a very viable option.

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Kawaii Stationary

To ensure that you stay dedicated to your Kawaii persona, you have to stay Kawaii even in places that are going to try their best to take your desire to be cute and cheery out of you. We’re talking about your academic institution or place of work, of course. No one likes to study (much), and no one likes the exhaustion brought about by working long hours.

So, what should you do in these situations where you just aren’t feeling up to it? One of the most minimalistic, easiest and effective ways to staying Kawaii is by making use of Kawaii objects. These include cute pens, notebooks, pencil boxes, bags, and key rings. Wear an oversized hoodie during winters, make use of this stationary and you’ll look like packaged cuteness without even trying.


Chibi means short, small, or tiny. When it comes to the Kawaii Japanese culture however, chibi is used to describe something or someone whose small stature adds to their level of cuteness. If you’re a small person, you already have this going for you.

 It’s not you who necessarily has to be small to be Kawaii though. You can buy lots of chibi dolls. These are small, cute, and stuffed dolls that you can decorate your room with, carry with you on your person or attach them to key rings.

Chibi dolls come in various appearances and many are based on popular anime. If there is a particular anime that you like, get a chibi from the anime and add it to your arsenal of objects that add to your Kawaii identity.

Kawaii identity
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Hair Styles

No aspect of your appearance should be overlooked or left out when you’re trying to achieve that specific Kawaii look. One of the most prominent features for most individuals is their hair. Your luscious, long locks can help you become Kawaii to the point that it seems like an intrinsic trait. The answer to the question “What hairstyle should I have?”, again, lies in anime.

One of the distinct features that sets anime apart from other works of animation is the hair. Anime characters are known to have hair that immediately catches your eye and adds character. For a Kawaii hairstyle, consider dying your hair with vibrant colours such as pink, neon green, blue or purple. If dying your hair is too serious of a commitment for you, guess what? Wigs exist, and they will do just as great of a job.

Now we come to how you should style your hair. Ringlets and straight hair with bangs are a staple of the Kawaii culture and you can’t really go wrong with them. One other way you can try when it comes to hairstyles is having pigtails.

Make-up and Products

Make-up is probably one of the most important things to consider when trying to look Kawaii and like an anime character. In real life, people don’t really have porcelain skin, eyes as large as the moon and hair that doesn’t get messed up no matter what. This is where different products come in.

One thing you might have noticed whilst watching anime is the fact that many characters don’t have eye colours that exist in the real world. These range from a blood red or shocking pink to a vibrant violet or blue etc. To achieve this look, we suggest that you look into contact lenses. Be wary of how your eyes feel, however. Make sure you get contact lenses from a trusted seller and if they make you feel uncomfortable, get them changed immediately.

There is also a good chance that contact lenses aren’t really for you though. In this case, don’t opt for wearing contact lenses all the time and use them rather sparingly. Your hopes of looking Kawaii aren’t crushed if contact lenses aren’t for you. Makeup of all kinds exists now and use that to your advantage. Apply the foundation, blush, eye shadow and liner you need to become a real-life porcelain doll, if that’s what you’re going for.


Now let’s talk about extra tools that you can utilize to go the extra mile and achieve the Kawaii look of your dreams. There are lots of accessories available in the market nowadays. The best part about using these accessories is the fact that they are temporary, and you don’t have to commit to a look for a long period of time.

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If you have short hair, you don’t need to worry about waiting for it grow out to achieve the look you want. Just use hair extensions! You can straighten them and curl them as much as you want and keep changing looks on a daily basis, all without any harm to your actual hair.

Some other accessories include fake nails and fake eyelashes. Kawaii nail art is very in, currently. Consider having pink nails with a Hello Kitty on them, or flowers or anything cute really. If you find nail-art to be a little too difficult, don’t worry! Just use stickers instead. A hairband with cat ears can also be the ultimate ingredient you are searching for in your Kawaii look.

Have Role-Models

You need to know of some anime characters or K-pop stars if you want to be a part of the Kawaii life. On your own, you’re sure to create some unique looks and mix and match hair colours, outfits, shoes that are going to help you look Kawaii. However, you may find it to be a tedious task if you have to come up with a new look frequently, from scratch. Therefore, it is important that you keep up with specific parts of Japanese and East-Asian culture so that you don’t run out of ideas and are always aware of what’s new. It’s important to stay in touch with what’s going on in the ‘Kawaii world’ so that you know of the new looks and able to appreciate people’s recreations of said looks.


This particular element of being Kawaii cannot be stressed enough. Your appearance can only get you so far. You may be extremely dedicated to looking the part and trying your absolute best to come up with your own unique looks or re-creating already established looks. But you are not going to be recognized as Kawaii to the extent that you might want if your persona does not match the way you look.

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The Kawaii persona is very specific. If you want to display the characteristics of a Kawaii individual, you need to be cheerful, youthful, positive, and exude sunshine and rainbows. Well, you don’t need to go overboard with it, but the idea is that you should be optimistic, cheerful and the life of the party.

If you want examples of such a character so that you can better adopt it, try looking at Ling Xiaoyu from the Tekken franchise. Ling Xiaoyu wears vibrant traditional clothing, has pigtails and a Panda best friend. That is about as Kawaii as it gets. Look at the Ling Xiaoyu Tekken model from Tekken 7 specifically.

Tekken 7 specifically
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Being Kawaii is a state of mind and many consider it be an art. The struggle to being Kawaii is a hard one and requires you to really dedicate yourself to it and be passionate about it. Pigtails and colourful shoes alone are just not going to cut it.

If you feel that being Kawaii is something that you really want and you’re willing to really try to achieve the look that you want, then this article is for you. Follow the tips and steps listed above. Be as colourful and as joyful as you can be, but remember to not overdo it to the point where you feel like it’s a burden. If this is for you, following our tips for looking Kawaii and acting Kawaii will eventually come naturally. And we’re sure that you’re going to get the look you want in no time!