18th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest Travel
Akihabara district, Tokyo

These images explore the Japanese concept of Kawaii, which is the unique Japanese cultural phenomenon of love of all things cute. Kawaii can mean childish, innocent, loveable, round. It also infers that anything Kawaii is helpless and needs to be taken care of. We see this concept permeating in Japanese culture; from the popularity of Hello Kitty, to Animae characters with disproportionately large, round eyes and big heads. This is also expressed as Ero-Kawaii, which is an odd blend of sexy cute. The phenomenon of the maid café expresses this dimension of it; where young women dress and act like little girls while wearing frilly, French maid costumes.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 04.2019
Date Uploaded: 11.2020
Photo Location: Tokyo, Japan
Camera: Canon EOS 7D Mark II
Copyright: © Alexandra Buxbaum