Origins of Cute

While perusing the most recent issue of Wired, I came across a reference to an interesting exhibit on display at the Japan Society Gallery in New York. The exhibit is called Little Boy: The Arts of Japan's Exploding Subculture, and it explores the roots of the kawaii or cute aesthetic in Japanese art and culture.

According to the gallery site, the name "Little Boy" refers to a nickname given to the atomic bomb that fell on Hiroshima as well as to the innocence of a traumatized child, an emblem of post-war Japan typified in the oversized eyes of manga and anime characters. I noticed this show is a follow-up to the Superflat exhibit, also curated by Takashi Murakami, that I saw here in Los Angeles several years ago.