Character goods, cheerfulness and cuteness

‘Consumutopian’ spaces as communicative media

Authored by: Brian J. McVeigh

Routledge Handbook of Japanese Media

Print publication date:  February  2018
Online publication date:  February  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138917415
eBook ISBN: 9781315689036
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter explores the sociopolitical and economic projects behind the proliferation of cheerfulness, cute imagery and character goods, i.e., as visual themes that are utilized by powerful institutions as a way to ‘soften’ their self-presentation and as socializing agents that maintain public order. It demonstrates how products of late-capitalist mass production, consumerist desires, technologies of simulation and physical and virtual spatialities interact, generating ‘consumutopia’ and ‘simulacra-scapes’, i.e., counter-presences to ordinary reality where our imaginary and fantasy worlds are enlarged. Finally, it discusses how cheerfulness and cuteness, as everyday esthetics/ethics of ‘resistance consumption’, are appropriated by individuals for personal use.

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