Types of Kawaii

A list of types of kawaii, along with a brief description of each one. Given how many subtypes have popped up this list will likely not be exhaustive.

  • Guro-kawaii: Grotesque + cute. A common misconception that the guro in guro-kawaii refers to gore. This is false. The guro in guro-kawaii is a shortening of grotesque. Examples of guro-kawaii characters are Gloomy Bear and Hanyo Usagi.
  • Ero-kawaii: Cute + sexy. Ado Mizumori is regarded as being one of the firsts artists to create works involving this combination.
  • Shibu-kawaii: Subdued/simple cute - may at times be a response to a too large degree of kawaii in one's surroundings.
  • Busu-kawaii: Ugly cute.
  • Kimo-kawaii: Creepy-cute. Many Kyary Pamyu Pamyu MVs contain elements of this.
  • Yumekawaii: A dreamy-cute kind of kawaii. Generally includes lots of pastels. Subjective, as dreams are. Can include elements of sickness/poison.
  • Marekawaii: Nightmare cute. Subjective, as everyone's idea of a nightmare is different. Anything goes as long as you don't hurt people. Could be seen as a darker version of yumekawaii.
  • Medikawaii: Medical + cute.
  • Misc Tidbits

    Several kawaii characters are deliberately designed lacking a mouth or displaying an ambiguous facial expression. This is done in order for them to also be easy to look at for a sad person. The idea is that the character will not be rejected for being too happy compared to the viewer's mental state, but rather there is room to interpret what the character is expressing.


  • Pixiv Wiki
  • kawaii! japan's culture of cute - Manami Okazaki & Geoff Johnson
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