Welcome to Japan’s Most Kawaii New Spot, KAWAII MONSTER CAFE HARAJUKU
Harajuku has earned a reputation globally for being the center of all things kawaii, the neighborhood’s cuteness spread worldwide via fashion designers and pop stars such as Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. The recently opened Kawaii Monster Cafe isn’t content to just remind visitors of the area’s status, however.
This spot wants to go beyond the already established tropes kawaii, and be something all its colorful own…and then share that with the world.
Opened in August, KAWAII MONSTER CAFE HARAJUKU looms five stories over the always-bustling Meiji-Dori street in Harajuku. Sebastian Masuda, a long-time champion of the neighborhood and one of the key architects of kawaii culture today, designed the cafe. Part of his idea for the venue is to represent kawaii physically in a space, though he isn’t simply recreating the colorful chaos found at his store 6%DOKIDOKI or in one of the videos he directed for Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. This is Japanese cuteness evolved.
The cafe envisions Harajuku as a monster of sorts, “engulfing the world’s most trendiest fashions and cultures.” Visitors first choose where they want to sit, selecting from four rooms — more on those in a second — and then they enter the belly of the beast. Quite literally, as a red carpet acting as the creature’s tongue guides customers inside.
Once in, brace for visual overstimulation. There is a lot to take in, though odds are the cafe’s centerpiece Sweets-Go-Round will most likely grab the most immediate attention. A Masuda creation, this sweets-inspired merry-go-round is great for photos, but is hardly the only standout spot around.
KAWAII MONSTER CAFE boasts four themed areas where visitors can sit — the colorful, fungi-themed Mushroom Disco, the Milk Stand corner featuring three giant animal heads sipping the titular beverage, the laboratory-inspired Bar Experiment and the sugar-overload Mel-Tea Room sporting melting ice-cream walls and biggie-sized macaroons. Customers can walk around and explore all these zones, but can only sit in one (the Mushroom Disco and Milk Stand, featuring booths with very high walls, offer a bit more privacy than the other two spots). Although they aren’t always there, chances are high customers will be escorted to their seat by one of KAWAII MONSTER CAFE’s “Monster Girls,” a quintet of women wearing Harajuku-appropriate clothes.
The place might be a feast for the eyes, but don’t forget that it is still a cafe, offering up food and drinks as colorful as any of the decor. The menu comes as an iPad cased in an oversized cake, and there are a lot of options to take in. Food choices tend towards shareable dishes that appear to have been dunked in a rainbow – KAWAII MONSTER CAFE’s most popular offering thus far is the Colorful Rainbow Pasta, featuring multi-colored noodles and a variety of colorful sauces to dip them in – plated like a painter’s palette.
Customers can also select from sandwiches, salads and various finger foods. Though, from this American writer’s perspective, the most surprising — (and welcome!) addition was a fried chicken and waffles plate. Dessert, fittingly, is every bit as rainbow bright. The biggest option might not have the tastiest sounding name – the Colorful Poison Parfait – but it definitely looks delicious. And intimidating, as it is a towering creation loaded with various flavors of ice cream, cake and fruits. If you aren’t ready to tackle that, there are plenty of other options coming in shades from all over the color spectrum, ranging from popcorn to ice-cream slathered pancakes.
On the drink front, the cafe sells a good variety of fruit-centric beverages. Dubbed Fruity Heavenly and served in a nice-sized jar-shaped glass, these feature flavors such as “mango” and “real fruits” (not to say the mangoes aren’t real, the latter is more of a mix featuring strawberries and various citrus offerings). They also have several signature cocktails — owing to the Bar Experiment area’s theme, they come in “non-druggy” (non-alcoholic) and “druggy” (alcoholic) form, and include the Experiment, featuring two test tubes of liquid one can add to the central glass of liquor – who knows what will happen, see the name! – and the Noctilucent, featuring a rainbow-sprinkle rim.
Worth squeezing in: KAWAII MONSTER CAFE features a point card system, allowing those who come frequently to earn special privileges other can not. These include discounts and the ability to make a reservation (non-card holders just have to show up and hope there isn’t a long line), yet the top card grants the holder access to a special VIP room hidden away from the other four zones. To add a bit of intrigue to the system, I’ll just say the room is extremely pink, cozy and offers one of the best views of the Tokyo skyline I’ve ever seen. Start earning those points.)
In the near future, KAWAII MONSTER CAFE aims to incorporate a special dinner menu, along with a nightly show that customers can watch while munching on technicolor pasta. Yet at the moment, it offers up one of the more unique dining experiences in Tokyo…and Harajuku. If your definition of kawaii ends at mismatched clothes and the “PonPonPon” video, prepare to have your idea of the word expand in a thousand directions after a visit here.
6 places you can get Instagram-worthy rainbow treats in Tokyo!
Rainbow sweets are now trending. As well as being very popular overseas, a large variety of shops that sell rainbow sweets have also been opening in Japan. Today we’ll be looking at rainbow sweets that you can eat in Tokyo! The impact of their vivid colours makes them perfect for an Instagram shot!
LE SHINER (Takeshita Street, Harajuku)
This shop has appeared many times on TV for its Instagram-worthy aesthetics. The pink bear is a real eye-catcher! The exterior is also cute ♡
The shop’s speciality is the rainbow soft serve ice cream. Colourful rainbow ice cream spirals around the base of pink ice cream.
Their colourful menu also includes rainbow cake sticks, rainbow sandwiches and much more!
Further information: https://www.moshimoshi-nippon.jp/ja/93444
Totti Candy Factory (Takeshita Street, Harajuku)
Totti Candy Factory has cute petit cakes, cotton candy and much more. There must be so many people who have tried this! Whatever you may have heard about this place, their showstopper is definitely the huge colourful cotton candy!
If you’re looking for a present or souvenir, we recommend you get one in a cup!
The KAWAII MONSTER CAFE is a new famous spot in Harajuku that has attracted many from all over the world.
One of their specialities is the colourful poison parfait, which is a photogenic masterpiece that is topped with ice cream, fruit, and even a piece of roll cake.
There are even rainbow cakes, rainbow pasta dishes, and much more!
Further information: https://www.moshimoshi-nippon.jp/ja/64096
LOLA’S Cupcakes (Roppongi, Harajuku)
It is possible to say that LOLA’S Cupcakes are the instigators for the rainbow sweets trend. Their cupcakes may be famous, but their rainbow cakes are also a popular choice!
Seven different colour layers of cake are sandwiched together with buttercream.
A WORKS (Gakugei-daigaku Station)
What makes this cafe appear so Instagram-worthy is its resemblance to a traditional Japanse-style house. In this popular cafe, all the cakes are made by hand. Sales end once all the cakes are gone.
This place has more to offer than just a rainbow-coloured cheesecake — there are also unicorn cakes, Cheshire cat cakes and much more ♡
NEW NEW YORK CLUB (Azabu-Jūban/ Jiyūgaoka station)
This shop was built for those who want to experience and taste New York culture in a New York atmosphere. Their signature treat is the rainbow-coloured bagel. However, they are only available on the weekends!
What are you waiting for? Get your hands on some rainbow sweets!
Over at the MOSHI MOSHI BOX, Harajuku’s tourist information center, we are always asked about ice cream and soft cream shops. These cute and Instagrammable shops are currently experiencing a huge boom with the younger generation!
Here are 7 popular ice cream and soft cream shops that you can visit during your trip to Harajuku.
Eddy’s Ice Cream
Located in Ura-Harajuku, Eddy’s Ice Cream completely is pasted in pink and white. Wherever you turn to look, you’re going to want to take a photo. The grand menu of Eddy’s Ice Cream, where the toppings are already chosen, is super popular, but you can also customise to your liking – there are 10 cones and 3 soft creams to choose from as well as 13 different toppings. The most popular item on the menu is the “Unicorn” (￥1,200), a magical delight wrapped in pastel coloured cotton candy and milk soft cream. This one promises a new kind of sensation for the taste buds!
Full Details: http://www.moshimoshi-nippon.jp/55526/2
Roll Ice Cream Factory
This unique rolled ice cream is mixed together with liquid ice cream and other ingredients on a cool plate. You can order from the regular menu or customise your own. The shop’s recommendation is the “Cookie Monster”! Not only can you take great pictures of the finished ice cream piece itself, but also the process as it is made in front of you.
Full Details: http://www.moshimoshi-nippon.jp/57051
Nanaya (Aoyama Branch)
Nanaya sells luxurious gelato made using matcha sourced from Fujieda in Shizuoka. It offers seven varying levels of matcha intensity – level 1 begins with a more moderately sweeter flavour, but as you progress up the scale to level 7 the flavour of the matcha becomes richer and deeper. The no. 7 gelato is the most popular item and claims to be the most matcha intense flavoured ice cream in the world. It uses matcha that received an award from the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. It boasts a deeply rich and bitter matcha flavour inside which lies a hint of refreshing sweetness.
Full Details: http://www.moshimoshi-nippon.jp/58538
Matcha Café Maiko
The same matcha – just imported from Hawaii! “MATCHA Stand MAIKO” has been in business in Hawaii since July 2016, and it has made its way to Omotesando in Japan. Matcha Café Maiko uses the highest quality matcha produced in “Harimaen,” a tea brand from Uji in Kyoto, aka the birthplace of Japanese tea. The matcha-flavored soft served ice cream of Matcha Café Maiko extracts the umami and texture of matcha to the fullest, meaning you can enjoy a matcha soft ice cream unlike any other!
Full Details: http://www.moshimoshi-nippon.jp/47577
“Milk” – Fresh Cream Specialty Shop
When “Milk” opened in Shibuya it was a roaring success, bringing in 30,000 people in the first month. Fresh cream usually plays the supporting role of sitting on top of something like pancake, but “Milk” promotes it to the lead role by drawing out its flavour to the fullest. “Milk” serves a range of sweets with the fresh cream as the main acts, including “Milky Cream Chiffon Cake” (￥780), “Milky Soft Cream” (￥540), “Milky Soft Parfait” (￥780), and more. The shop is only open for a limited period, so don’t miss out.
Full Details: http://www.moshimoshi-nippon.jp/54370
Affogato (￥550), a definite recommendation to those people who find normal ice cream a tad bit boring. It’s made with rich wholesome ice cream that melts its way into strong coffee. Even people who aren’t adjusted to coffee can enjoy this one. What’s more is that “sorama” is a café situated away from the hustle and bustle of the busy streets of Harajuku where time flows calmer, allowing you to take a breather. It’s a place where you can enjoy more “grown-up” ice cream.
Full Details: http://www.moshimoshi-nippon.jp/32960
Ice cream and dairy specialists “Morinaga Milk Industry” teamed up with “GOMAYA KUKI,” a store specialising in sesame ice cream, to open the soft serve ice cream shop “coisof.” Their sesame ice creams strive to stand superior to ice creams all over the world and are topped with colourful “oiri,” a traditional candy from Kagawa prefecture that brings good luck. Once you have one you won’t be able to stop!
Full Details: http://www.moshimoshi-nippon.jp/54778
Harajuku – the home of the “kawaii” culture. Know you know some of its most photogenic ice cream shops. So what are you waiting for? Have your fill♡
A “zoo” beside a Harajuku Denki Shokai ?! An ice cream store, “Dobutsuen” which use the motifs of animals was opened
“Dobutsuen” which sells cute animal-shaped ice cream under the theme of “the smallest zoo of the world” was opened on the 23rd of September.
Each item is 500 yen! Below are the items which are suitable to be uploaded on your SNS.
Buta (strawberry) Buhtaro (5oo yen / tax included)
Panda (cookie and cream) Runrun (5oo yen / tax included)
Zou (soda) Umeko (5oo yen / tax included)
Koara (Vanilla) Ocean Hiroko (5oo yen / tax included)
Tora (blueberry cheese cake) Eijikun (5oo yen / tax included)
3 Biki no Kobuta (random flavor) (1,000 yen / tax included)
Why not try these cute animal-shaped ice creams after drinking Denkyu Soda.
Fendi and Harajuku Omotesando Keyaki-kai Collaborate on #FendiTsunaguOmotesando Art Project
Italian luxury fashion brand Fendi has teamed up with Harajuku Omotesando Keyaki-kai on a new street art project! ‘TSUNAGU – Omotesando Street Art Project’ was unveiled on April 29, 2022.
The project, which aims to improve the city’s scenery and share positive messages, is on display in Omotesando, a popular area with young people. The canvas is the formal site of the Oriental Bazaar, an iconic part of Omotesando for over four decades. Under the theme of ‘hope,’ three young artists will be displaying their artwork in a massive temporary enclosure on the site. Hopefully, Japan really will open tourism soon so that guests from around the world can enjoy these inspiring pieces!
The first piece of art was unveiled on April 29 and was drawn by Dai Tamura, a young Japanese artist who has attracted worldwide attention after becoming an illustrator for the NBA. The dynamic and powerful compositions vividly depict endangered animals and plants alongside delicate flowers to symbolize hope for the futures of these beautiful creatures.
Be sure to keep an eye out for the next installation coming soon!
TSUNAGU – Omotesando Street Art Project
Location: Oriental Bazaar Former Site
Address: 5-9-13 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Official Site: http://www.fendi.com
MOSHI MOSHI ROOMS HARAJUKU Announces ‘My Ty Rooms Harajuku’ Collaboration
ASOBISYSTEM, a company aiming to broadcast Japanese pop culture from Harajuku to the rest of the world, has teamed up with Rokuyon Corporation for a special collaboration! Rokuyon manages unique private accommodations throughout Shibuya in Tokyo, and with help from Meteor APAC, the Japanese distributor of Ty’s beloved Beanie Baby stuffed animals, a new collaboration room will be available to book for a limited time only.
MOSHI MOSHI ROOMS HARAJUKU, a home-sharing facility produced by ASOBISYSTEM, is offering a Ty-inspired room from April 23 until May 22, 2022. The room looks more like an art gallery than a guest house and was designed by Ty’s content director Harris.
Children can enjoy a number of Ty amenities, while adults will enjoy taking home a Ty A3-sized tote bag to remember their unique visit. Those taking the tote bag will be able to fill it with all the Ty stuffed animals they want for only ¥1,650 (Tax Included)!
A social networking campaign exclusively for guests will also be underway soon! Those posting with the hashtag #moshimoshirooms and #ty will receive one free Ty plush toy!
My Ty Rooms HARAJUKU
Available: April 23 – May 22, 2022
Address: MOSHI MOSHI ROOMS HARAJUKU (2-18-7 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo)
Access: 8-minute walk from Meijijingu-mae Harajuku Station on the Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line/Fukutoshin Line
xxxHOLiC Exhibition Opens at WITH HARAJUKU HALL to Mark Upcoming Live-action Film
A special xxxHOLiC exhibition will open at WITH HARAJUKU HALL in Shibuya on April 29, 2022! The event is being held to celebrate the release of the live-action xxxHOLiC film on the same day.
Written and illustrated by the manga group CLAMP, xxxHOLiC ran from 2003 until 2017 in Weekly Young Magazine and Bessatsu Shonen Magazine. The series has been a best-seller, with over 14 million copies in circulation, and has been adapted into an anime series, anime film, and live-action television series. An all-male stage play aired in Tokyo in September 2021. The upcoming xxxHOLiC film is the first live-action film adaptation by photographer Mika Ninagawa. This exhibit will include behind-the-scenes footage and images along with a puzzle-solving game!
©2022映画「ホリック」製作委員会 ©CLAMP・ShigatsuTsuitachi CO.,LTD.／講談社
©2022映画「ホリック」表裏世界没入展実行委員会©CLAMP・ShigatsuTsuitachi CO.,LTD.／講談社 Photo by Mika Ninagawa
Guests will be able to see stills, costumes, props, and artwork from the upcoming film, as well as a ‘visit to the wish-granting shop!’ Take some pictures at an incredibly detailed photo spot, and check out images of the film’s incredible cast. xxxHOLiC will star Ryunosuke Kamiki, Kou Shibasaki, Tina Tamashiro, Daoko, Serena Motola, and many more beloved stars.
*Hokuto Matsumura, who plays Shizuka Doumeki, will not be featured in the exhibition.
xxxHOLiC Puzzle Solving Game ‘The Mysterious and Curious Tale’
Get ready for a completely original new mystery game! Players will transform into the characters of xxxHOLiC to solve a mystery assigned to Yuko Ichihara and Kimihiro Watanuki. What’s the real cost of making a wish?
©2022映画「ホリック」製作委員会 ©CLAMP・ShigatsuTsuitachi CO.,LTD.／講談社
xxxHOLiC Behind the Scenes Exhibition Supported by WITH HARAJUKU
Address: WITH HARAJUKU HALL (1-14-30 Jingumae, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo)
Access: 1-minute walk from Harajuku Station on the JR Yamanote Line, a 1-minute walk from Meijijingumae Station on the Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line/Fukutoshin Line
Running: April 29 – May 15, 2022
Hours: 10:00-16:30 (Last entry at 16:00) *Open 10:00-19:00 from May 9 – May 13 (Last entry at 18:30)
xxxHOLiC Puzzle Solving Game ‘The Mysterious and Curious Tale’: 17:30-19:30 (Area closes at 20:00) *Open 20:00-22:00 from May 9 – May 13
Official Site: https://xxxholic-movie-event.com
Hokkaido’s Menkoi Nabe Kuma-chan Onsen, the Cutest Way to Eat Hotpot, Now Available Online
13.April.2022 | FOOD
Chances are you’ve seen the Hokkaido Menkoi Nabe Kuma-chan Onsen. Menkoi means ‘cute’ in Hokkaido dialect, and these cute little bears are made from soup stock. Set them in a pot, and they begin to melt, looking like they’re enjoying a hot spring bath. Once they melt, you can enjoy their delicious flavor! Currently, the only place in Japan to offer this adorable and creative dish is a little shop in Miyamasu-Zaka, Shibuya, which opened in 2021. The shop is full every day, and getting a reservation can take up to a month!
For those unable to visit Japan, you can now purchase these tasty bears online.
Variations Available Online
Grab one of these cute bears and whip up the tastiest and most adorable meal you’ve ever had!
Hokkaido’s Menkoi Nabe Kuma-chan Onsen
Online Shop: https://www.kumachan-onsen.jp/
Legendary Street Fashion Magazine FRUITS Launches Collaborative Issue with atmos pink
10.April.2022 | FASHION
FRUiTS, a magazine capturing the essence of Harajuku culture through fashion, will release a special issue in collaboration with women’s sneaker store atmos pink and SNKRGIRL, the first and only sneaker news site for women in Japan.
SNKRGIRL, Japan’s first and only sneaker media for women by women, is participating in this special collab with FRUiTS, the legendary street photo magazine that introduced Harajuku culture to the world, and atmos pink, the popular Tokyo-based sneaker select store for women.
FRUiTS editor-in-chief shot the images for the special issue. Female sneaker lovers are becoming more common in the Japanese fashion scene, with #SneakerGirls often trending on social media.
The new issue will feature popular influencers who attended SNKRGIRL’s recent Harajuku Snap Party, as well as models, dancers, and women from many other walks of life. The magazine will be a way to see what Harajuku fashion looks like in 2022, and each issue will include a special Bikkuriman sticker!
The cover features influential model YURINO, a big name in the fashion and sneaker scene. Readers can enjoy an interview between Harajuku fashion expert Kaoru Takami and FRUiTS editor-in-chief too, so don’t miss it!
FRUiTS atmos pink × SNKRGIRL
Release Date: March 31, 2022
Where to Buy
atmos pink Stores /atmos pink Web Store: https://www.atmos-pink.com/
SNKRGIRL Official Shop: https://sneaker-girl.store/products/fruits_atmospink_snkrgirl_magazine
Ginza Tsutaya Books to Hold ‘What is Kawaii’ Exhibition Featuring Art by Three Female Artists
From April 2 until April 22, Ginza Tsutaya Books will be holding a 5th-anniversary exhibition featuring art by three young female artists! These creators specialize in drawing girls, and the event will ask one question: what is ‘Kawaii?’ The artists featured are Amane Ishii, Azusa Nozawa, and Yumi Nagata.
These three artists have captured the spotlight with their unique styles. Ishii prefers oil painting, Nozawa has a style perfect for manga, and Nagata specializes in more Japanese-style paintings. Those who planned the exhibition noted that the reason these three artists have become so popular stems from how they depict cuteness–they don’t try to conform to society’s idea of ‘cute,’ but rather depict what they themselves consider to be cute.
Many motifs in Ishii’s works are based on the artist’s personal experiences, many stemming from childhood. Her unique characters are sure to grab your attention, and although her pieces are two-dimensional, the linework almost makes them seem 3D.
For Nozawa, ‘cute’ is the most important element found in her works. She often uses pastels, and something about the way she draws her characters is nostalgic, harkening back to purikura filters and manga characters of the early 2000s. Her unique worldview and nostalgic characters amount to truly one-of-a-kind pieces.
The girls appearing in Nagata’s pieces are projections of herself. She draws the clothes she would like to wear and the poses she’d love to strike! Pursuing her idea of ‘cuteness’ with traditional Japanese techniques and paints, she often includes polka dots in her works, which are a feminine symbol.
The exhibition will feature two of Ishii’s oil paintings and 13 drawings, the first time such a large number of drawings have been shown all at once. In addition, three of Nozawa’s new portrait series will be on display, along with nine of Nagata’s works.
‘Kawaii’ is one of the most prominent keywords found in contemporary Japanese culture. What does it mean to you?
What is Kawaii? Exhibition
Running: April 2 – April 22, 2022
Location: Ginza Tsutaya Books Artwork Gallery
Harajuku Girls Magazine Zipper to Return to Quarterly Release Schedule After 5 Years
23.December.2021 | FASHION
Popular Harajuku-based fashion magazine Zipper, which ceased publication in 2017, will return in March 2022! The rebirth of the magazine is being spearheaded as a joint venture between DONUTS Inc. and ASOBISYSTEM.
Zipper was first published in 1993 as a way to say “NO!” to traditional style. It continued to inspire creative minds for 24 years until it ceased publication in 2017, and many Harajuku-based celebrities and influencers cite the magazine as a major source of inspiration over the years. Now, this beacon of individuality and fashion is making a triumphant comeback right when the world needs it most.
In addition to the magazine, Zipper will also be available on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter, opening up the brand to fans of Japanese fashion around the world. More details will be announced in the future.
Resuming Publication in March 2022
Report: Sebastian Masuda’s ‘Yes, Kawaii is Art’ Exhibition at Kanda Myojin Shrine Goes Beyond ‘Cute’
What does the word ‘kawaii’ mean to you? For most people overseas, it’s a purely Japanese aesthetic combining colorful visuals with cutesy characters to make something so adorable it defies imagination. In recent years, however, ‘kawaii’ has become a kind of philosophy that transcends language, national borders, and even consciousness. It’s a driving force behind people’s lives and something that pulls people out of bed in the morning–it’s something capable of instantly putting a smile on people’s faces. For those wishing to study the philosophy behind the ‘kawaii’ movement, the Godfather of Kawaii Sebastian Masuda is currently holding an exhibition at Kanda Myojin Shrine in Tokyo until December 12, 2021. What is it about ‘kawaii’ that is so capable of inspiring so many different people and cultures around the world?
A correlation chart welcomes guests to the grounds. The ‘Kawaii Archival Research,’ a project on kawaii culture conducted with students from the Kyoto University of Arts, collected data on ‘kawaii’ trends from the post-war period to the present day. Through interactions with the worldwide ‘kawaii’ community, it’s clear how much of an impact the aesthetic has had on people around the globe.
In the midst of the pandemic in 2020, Masuda announced #KAWAIITRIBE, a way to encourage those coping with depression during the days of COVID-19. His followers were asked to use ‘color’ to bring the world together, and more and more, the ‘kawaii’ movement became a way to express and love oneself. Using #KAWAIITRIBE, more and more fans of the movements became connected–even if those users were countries apart.
The hashtag #SPEAKUP was also utilized by Masuda to collect data from ‘kawaii’ lovers around the world, asking about hobbies, interests, and opinions on ‘kawaii’ culture. The data collected over the course of 12 days was incredibly meaningful to Masuda and led to plenty of new discoveries about the community as a whole.
Masuda explains that each country has different types of ‘kawaii,’ and that the aesthetic is expressed in different ways around the world. One country may have people influenced mainly by ‘kawaii’ expressions in anime and manga, while another expresses it through fashion or music. ‘Kawaii’ is diverse, just as people are diverse.
Sebastian Masuda has also held a Zoom meeting with people in ‘kawaii’ communities around the globe to discover how they became involved with the aesthetic initially, while also asking how it inspired them and gave them strength during these difficult times. Certain people claimed that ‘kawaii’ helped them in their personal growth, while others say it has brought out some of their potential in new and unexpected ways. While Masuda’s artwork may simply seem visual, ‘kawaii’ has become a tool for new communication and personal healing and growth. Some may even call it a kind of therapy: a place where people can surround themselves with color and joy to heal from the difficulties of life. The bold colors of the ‘kawaii’ movement can inspire people to be bold in their daily lives. Individuality should be celebrated and self-confidence should reign supreme–that is yet another message of the ‘kawaii’ movement.
Many people involved in the Zoom call had never met, and after the initial meeting, the room was left open to give people a place to communicate. Afterward, the ‘kawaii’ circle only became bigger, with a Facebook group bringing together more and more members of the community.
The research done during the last year of the COVID-19 pandemic has given ‘kawaii’ lovers a reason to think deeply on how to overcome the many struggles born from the ‘new normal,’ and these forums are perfect places to share colorful messages of hope and strength.
Inspired by Masuda’s own struggles during his time in Manhatten in 2013, Colorful Rebellion -Seventh Nightmare- is on display at Kanda Myojin. The installation has previously appeared in locations around the world including New York City, Milan, and Amsterdam. This time, the exhibit was inspired by ‘muro,’ a basement room in Omotesando where amazake is fermented. The room was used as an air-raid shelter during the war, and walking along the dimly-lit path leading to Masuda’s brightly-colored room, it’s hard not to wish that those evacuees could have been surrounded by these beautiful colors instead of pitch darkness.
It is no exaggeration to say that this is Masuda’s representative work. Created in the midst of the artist’s own struggles, it has helped establish the philosophy of ‘kawaii’ culture and continues to help those dealing with their own problems.
The Time After Time Capsule Art Project, starting in 2014 and held in 12 cities around the world, is a massive time capsule filled with messages and wishes for the future. Shaped like the beloved Sanrio character Hello Kitty, the capsule is gradually changing color as it becomes heavier and heavier with wishes for peace and happiness from fans around the world. Originally planned to be exhibited at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, this couldn’t come to fruition due to the current pandemic. This is the first time it is being shown in Japan.
The WORLD TIME CLOCK, a once-famous landmark of Harajuku, has also been recreated and installed within Kanda Myojin.
‘Yes, Kawaii Is Art’ at Kanda Myojin is a deeply emotional, personal, and inspiring exhibition allowing visitors to experience firsthand how ‘kawaii’ culture is capturing the hearts of people around the world. Sebastian Masuda isn’t slowing down any time soon, and his works will continue to heal people and bring joy for many years to come.
Sebastian Masuda’s solo exhibition ‘Primal Pop’ will be held at Roppongi Hills A/D Gallery from December 11, 2021, until January 10, 2022.
TEXT：Natalie（MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON）
YES, KAWAII IS ART at Kanda Myojin Shrine
Running until December 12, 2021
Location: Kanda Myojin Shrine
Running: December 11, 2021 – January 10, 2022
Location: Roppongi Hills A/D Gallery
A Sneak Peek at Sebastian Masuda’s ‘Yes, Kawaii Is Art’ Exhibition at Kanda Myojin Shrine
The Godfather of Kawaii Sebastian Masuda will open his ‘Yes, Kawaii Is Art’ exhibition at the 1,300-year-old Kanda Myojin Shrine on December 4, 2021. A number of Masuda’s representative works will be on display at the historical site, known as one of the most important shrines during the Edo period.
Colorful Rebellion -Seventh Nightmare-
Kanda Myojin Shrine
Colorful Rebellion -Seventh Nightmare- has been shown in New York, Milan, and Amsterdam over the past few years, and will now make an appearance as part of this exhibition. Given the magnificence of the venue, the work will be presented in a unique way–in the basement of the shrine. In addition, a part of the research on Kawaii culture conducted in collaboration with Kyoto University of Arts Ultra Factory will be on display as well. Guests will be invited to ponder the nature of Kawaii, and what makes it so beloved by audiences worldwide.
Colorful Rebellion -WORLD TIME CLOCK-
Time After Time Capsule Art Project
Kawaii Archival Research
Near the entrance to the shrine, the Colorful Rebellion -WORLD TIME CLOCK will be on display. Clad in the cutest colors imaginable, it has become a symbol of Harajuku around the world. The Hello Kitty-shaped time capsule, which was on display for five months in New York City in 2015, will also be shown on the temple grounds. The participatory art project has made it to 12 cities around the world so far.
Kawaii culture will blend with traditional Japanese culture during this exhibition, so keep an eye out for more details coming soon!
What is ‘Yes, Kawaii Is Art?’
Sebastian Masuda has been at the helm of the global Kawaii movement for decades.
In 2020, Masuda asked a number of questions to fans of Japanese pop culture around the world–what is Kawaii? Why does Kawaii cross borders, generations, and gender? This new exhibition tries to find an answer to those questions while bringing some joy and excitement to the local community.
Sebastian Masuda Exhibition ‘Yes, Kawaii Is Art’ at Kanda Myojin Shrine
Dates: December 4 – December 12, 2021
Hours: 12:00-18:00 (Last Entry at 17:30)
Address: Kanda Myojin Shrine (2-16-2 Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo)
Admission: Free (¥500 for Colorful Rebellion -Seventh Nightmare-)
For more details on the event, follow Sebastian Masuda’s Twitter:
A Tachikoma From Ghost in the Shell SAC_2045 Arrives at New Balance Harajuku
As a part of the brand’s 9BOX series, New Balance has released a new graphic T-shirt collection in collaboration with Ghost in the Shell SAC_2045. The items went on sale November 12, and to commemorate the release, a Tachikoma from the series has arrived at New Balance Harajuku! For those who may not have seen the series, a Tachikoma is an AI tank prominently featured in the Ghost in the Shell universe.
Long Sleeve T-Shirt
Motoko Kusanagi, the main character of the series, perfectly exemplifies the New Balance brand, which promotes ‘fearless independence.’ Five new t-shirt designs are now available, all drawn by Ilya Kuvshinov, the character designer for Ghost in the Shell SAC-2045. The collection is available at official New Balance stores nationwide, as well as the online store and participating ABC Marts. Those who purchase items from the collection will receive a collaboration sticker, and a special picture frame will be available on the New Balance official store app NB Shop.
New Balance’s flagship store in Harajuku is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year and was the backdrop for the cover of Rolling Stone Japan to promote the collaboration. Fans of the anime series shouldn’t miss out on these stylish threads!
Ghost in the Shell SAC_2045 x New Balance
On Display from November 20 – December 2, 2021
Location: New Balance Harajuku
Collab Details/Store: https://shop.newbalance.jp/shop/e/eEnb-app-9boxgits
Sebastian Masuda Kawaii Exhibition to be Held at 1,300-Year-Old Kanda Myojin Shrine
Sebastian Masuda, the Godfather of Kawaii, is bringing his ‘Yes, Kawaii is Art’ exhibition to Tokyo. If that isn’t cool enough, the event will be held from December 4 until December 12, 2021, at the 1,300-year-old Kanda Myojin Shrine, known as one of the most important shrines during the Edo period.
Kanda Myojin, the Tokyo Venue
Work at ‘Yes, Kawaii is Art’ Venue in Osaka
Related Event, 6%DOKIDOKI Fashion Show
Originally scheduled to arrive in Tokyo in September, the exhibition was postponed due to the state of the COVID-19 pandemic. Kanda Myojin is known as the site of the Kanda Festival, one of the three major Shinto festivals in Tokyo started by Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1600. The shrine is very close to Akihabara, and has become a place for technophiles to pray for their electronics!
Sebastian Masuda is known as the Godfather of Kawaii, and his colorful and crazy art is known around the world. In 2020, Masuda asked a number of questions to fans of Japanese pop culture around the world–what is Kawaii? Why does Kawaii cross borders, generations, and gender? This new exhibition tries to find an answer to those questions while bringing some joy and excitement to the local community.
Osaka’s City of Art Kitakagaya has hosted Masuda’s exhibition since October 30, with his works spread out across three different venues. These will be open until November 30, 2021.
Additionally, on November 13, a street fashion show by Masuda’s popular Harajuku fashion brand 6%DOKIDOKI will be held at the third venue. The brand turns 26 this year.
Yes, Kawaii is Art
Sebastian Masuda’s “Yes, Kawaii is Art” Exhibition at Kanda Myojin Shrine
Running: December 3 – December 12, 2021
Address: Kanda Myojin Shrine (2-16-2 Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo)
*Details to be announced at a later date.
Venue 1: ¥500 (Weekdays) ¥1,000 (Weekends/Holidays)
Both Venue 1 + Venue 2: ¥1,500 (Viewing) ¥2,000 (Experience)
Venue 3: Free
Access: Close to Kita-Kagaya Station on the Osaka Metro Yotsubashi Line, Exit 4
Venue 1: kagoo
Main Work: ‘Colorful Rebellion -Seventh Nightmare-
Running: October 30 – November 21, 2021
Closed Mondays and Tuesdays, November 17
Address: 5-4-19 Kita-Kagaya, Suminoe-ku, Osaka
Venue 2: Oto Building
Main Work: ‘Fantastic Voyage, Prototype II’
Running: November 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14
Hours: Shows at 13:00, 15:00, 17:00 *Only at 17:00 on November 14
Address: 5-5-1 Kita-Kagaya, Suminoe-ku, Osaka
Venue 3: Chidori Bunka
Main Work: ‘Colorful Rebellion -WORLD TIME CLOCK-
Running: November 12 – November 21, 2021
Closed on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays
Address: 5-2-28 Kita-Kagaya, Suminoe-ku, Osaka
6%DOKIDOKI Fashion Show ‘Colorful Riot’
Date: November 14, 2021
Address: Venue 1 (Free Admission)
Official Site: https://sebastianmasuda.com/
KAWAII MONSTER KITCHEN by ASOBISYSTEM Opens in Osaka
For visitors to Tokyo who love Japanese pop culture, the KAWAII MONSTER CAFE was a rite of passage. Opened in Harajuku in 2015 and produced by the Godfather of Kawaii himself Sebastian Masuda, the restaurant was a love letter to all things cute. Starting in February 2021, ASOBISYSTEM has taken over the operation of this beloved property.
Regrettably, due to the state of the world, KAWAII MONSTER CAFE HARAJUKU closed at the end of January 2021. However, the spirit of this colorful place isn’t dead, and a new concept and menu are now coming to fruition in Osaka!
Monster Cake and Choppy
Colorful Tonkatsu Monster Burger (Red): ¥1,380 (Tax Included, Drink Included)
This bright red monster burger will make a great subject for an Instagram photo and is filled with pork cutlet and bacon dipped in a special tomato sauce.
Colorful Shrimp Fritter Monster Burger (Blue): ¥1,380 (Tax Included, Drink Included)
This tasty shrimp fritter sandwich is best enjoyed with plenty of tartar sauce!
Colorful Blue and Red Mini Burgers: ¥1,280 (Tax Included)
Can’t decide which burger you’d like to try? How about both! Guests can also design their own monster burgers with a special topping kit.
Cooking Class Fee: ¥700 (Tax Included)
Cooking Class Fee with Cutlery: ¥1,000 (Tax Included)
Length: 30 minutes
Quiz Rally Card
Traverse the four floors of the Hug Museum for a special quiz rally! There will be one question on each floor, marked by Choppy! Those who answer all the questions correctly will receive an original mask case!
The Hug Museum, sponsored by Osaka Gas, offers plenty of hands-on exhibitions related to food. The grand opening of the KAWAII MONSTER KITCHEN was held on November 2, and inspired children and adults alike to have fun with their food and embrace all th ings kawaii. A photo spot featuring a massive monster cake has also been installed, supervised by Sebastian Masuda. Come experience the spirit of kawaii culture in Osaka!
KAWAII MONSTER KITCHEN
Grand Opening: November 2, 2021
Address: Hug Museum (3-2-59 Chiyozaki, Nishi-ku, Osaka)
Hours: 10:00-18:00 (Closed Wednesdays, New Years)
Admission: Free (Fees may apply in certain areas)
KAWAII MONSTER CAFE
Official Online Store: https://kawaimoncafe.base.shop/