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Kawaii/Cute interactive media


Cuteness in interactive systems is a relatively new development yet has its roots in the aesthetics of many historical and cultural elements. Symbols of cuteness abound in nature as in the creatures of neotenous proportions: drawing in the care and concern of the parent and the care from a protector. We provide an in-depth look at the role of cuteness in interactive systems beginning with a history. We particularly focus on the Japanese culture of Kawaii, which has made large impact around the world, especially in entertainment, fashion, and animation. We then take the approach of defining cuteness in contemporary popular perception. User studies are presented offering an in-depth understanding of key perceptual elements, which are identified as cute. This knowledge provides for the possibility to create a cute filter that can transform inputs and automatically create more cute outputs. This paper also provides an insight into the next generation of interactive systems that bring happiness and comfort to users of all ages and cultures through the soft power of cute.

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  1. The first documented culture in the Japanese history. Horticultural and earthenware related ceremonies of Jomon culture still part of Japanese Culture.




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This extends full credit [Springer and the Art and Technology of Entertainment Computing and Communication, 2010, pages 223-254, Kawaii/Cute Interactive Media, Cheok, A. D., figures. (9.1, 9.2, 9.3, 9.4, 9.5, 9.6, 9.7, 9.8, 9.9, 9.10, 9.11, 9.12), A. D. Cheok (Ed.) Art and Technology of Entertainment Computing and Communication©, Springer-Verlag London Limited 2010] to the publication in which the material was originally published, by adding; with kind permission from Springer Science+Business Media B.V. This paper was made possible by the invaluable contributions from past lab members, including Tim Merrit, Chenxi Zhang and Marc Tuters.

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Correspondence to Adrian David Cheok.

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This paper is based on the Chapter Cheok, A. D. (2010). Kawaii/Cute Interactive Media. In A.D. Cheok (Ed.) Art and Technology of Entertainment Computing and Communication. London: Springer. Reprinted here with modifications by concession of Springer.

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Cheok, A.D., Fernando, O.N.N. Kawaii/Cute interactive media. Univ Access Inf Soc 11, 295–309 (2012).

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  • Kawaii computing
  • Cultural computing
  • Interactive systems