A new kawaii exhibit, “Kawaii: Japan’s Cute Culture” just opened in Epcot’s Japan pavilion in the Bijutsu-kan Gallery. I looked through my articles and found that the recently closed “Spirited Beasts” exhibit opened in July 2010. I can’t believe it is over 5 years since then! Kawaii is a term I only recently learned, although I’ve been visiting the Mitsukoshi shop on each trip around World Showcase for many years. The “cute” culture is alive and well in the store, from plush to clothing to housewares and more. Even the Disney Store has started offering a new line of kawaii merchandise.
The 80 or so photos below are just a sampling of the display, there is so much packed into this small room!
Before reading through our article, here is a video of the exhibit – it shows almost everything, much more than I can easily share in photos.
Here is a look at the entrance to the exhibit.
Inside the exhibit is a Melty-Go-Round sculpture of Harajuku Girl designed by artist Sebastian Masuda.
Information about the artist and sculpture is posted.
Toys and jewelry are among the items that fill the sculpture.
An explanation of kawaii is posted.
Even these figures are examples of kawaii.
From Hello Kitty in the first photo to Domo, there are quite a few characters that are known around the world that are part of kawaii culture. Here are some of them.
Domo-Kun (there is quite a bit of Domo merchandise inside Mitsukoshi).
Shoppers can also find Rilakkuma in many forms inside Mitsukoshi.
Hiro Tanaka, a “salaryman”.
I thought there would be more Disney references, but they are just a very small part of the display. Gelatoni is inside this cubby with a Duffy the Disney Bear popcorn bucket from Japan.
Donald Duck Tokyo DisneySea popcorn bucket.
Hello Kitty is featured quite a bit through the display.
Hello Kitty bus design and more.
My favorite item has to be the Hello Kitty air sickness bag.
Hello Kitty on an airplane.
Kawaii isn’t something that is only geared toward the young.
Kawaii construction barriers.
A train company mascot is to the right.
“Unchi” means poop in Japan, and while poop treats didn’t last long at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park, poop candy is quite popular in Japan. The pink Unchikun would make quite the stocking stuffer.
Cosplay is very popular in Japan.
I think this is Doraemon.
Kawaii pet display.
You can see how stuffed full the cases are of merchandise, including a few Disney items here. Pooh and Piglet are on the right, and Mike and Sully are on the left.
Mike and Sully, along with Jiji from Kiki’s Delivery Service are some of the characters here.
On the go kawaii items.
Bento lunch boxes.
Kawaii at work and play.
Self expression in kawaii style.
Monchichi has been very popular recently in Mitsukoshi.
Here is a look at a kawaii designed bathroom.
Even the toilet paper has designs on it.
Hello Kitty trash can.
Hello Kitty bandages and other items.
Even the toilet paper holder is cute.
Cat tail toilet bowl brush.
Kawaii at home.
There is another Duffy popcorn bucket at the top of the refrigerator. Mickey is also represented here.
Hello Kitty on a Kellogg’s box with Tony the Tiger.
This looks like a Chip or Dale Tsum Tsum.
Bento Box with cute animals, including Tippy Blue the Seagull. Tippy Blue is from Tokyo Disney.
Here are more cute items in the refrigerator.
Cute Cuisine, and a hidden Mickey in the corner.
Hello Kitty helps make up the hidden Mickey.
Kawaii clothes laid out.
Kawaii superstars, and I think Tippy Blue is in the upper right corner.
Looking out the “window”.
I thought this was a headband at first, but it looks like headphones and a phone case.
Another section of the display includes Tom Nook.
“The Root of Cute”.
Hello Kitty bank.
Astro Boy action figure.
It was really hard to decide what to put into the article, with so many items!
And if you’ve never been inside the Mitsukoshi store, give yourself some extra time. The shop is chock full of cute items, and I thought I’d share just a few.
Some of my favorites are from Shinzi Katoh, who is very talented!
A “Kiki’s Delivery Service” hand towel. I haven’t yet seen the film, and Jiji reminds me of Toothless from “How to Train Your Dragon”.
Kiki’s Delivery Service.
Cute eyeglass cases.
There is a large selection of Hello Kitty merchandise.
The shop is huge! There are many sections to the store, including candy/snacks, plush/toys, apparel, and so much more. If you like Kawaii merchandise, that is the place at Walt Disney World to go.