Kigurumi: Should We All Be Wearing Japanese Animal PJs Everyday?
Kigurumi (see: THAT ADORABLE SKELETON) is apparently all the rage in Japan and now it's gaining popularity with the kids (I know because of the YouTube videos of under-age types opening packages and giggling like they just unboxed Justin Beiber himself) and the type of adults who go to Comic-Con and write anime fan fiction (adults who I consider to be much cooler than myself).
Since learning about their existence from Chris Hardwick at Sketchfest, all I can think about is owning some baggy, comfy Kigurumi pajamas. Specifically, I want those skeleton ones. Now, I also think they look sort of creepy and don't actually know of an occasion when it would be appropriate to wear them. But at the same time: SKELETON PAJAMAS.
Do you remember back in 2009, reading the article in Vanity Fair about the dark implications of our cultures obsession with cute-ness? The thesis of the piece was pretty much: we use cute-ness to make ourselves and the world less threatening. The idea was that the Japanese started the game by employing epic cute-ness after WWII. The Vanity Fair piece quoted Roland Kelts, the author of the 2006 book Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture Has Invaded the U.S. as saying: “One theory, which has been proposed by a lot of Japanese artists and academics, is that, after the humiliation and emasculation of Japan in the postwar years, Japan developed this quasi-queer position of ‘little brother’ or ‘little boy.’ If you become ‘little brother’ or ‘little boy,’ the only way you can get big brother’s or fat man’s attention is by being so cute or puppy-like that he has to take care of you.”
All of which makes me wonder: do I want to wear fuzzy skeleton pajamas to appear less threatening? Are all the awkward teenagers and geeky adults who are obsessed by the idea of basically dressing up like stuffed animals actually attempting to make themselves less scary to get the love and care they need and want? Or maybe attempting to make the world less of a place where they are rejected and terrified and alone? Also, will I get fired or promoted or taken out to lunch or rocked to sleep like a baby kitten if I make the choice to wear Kigurumi to work?
Only time will tell. In the meantime, I should probably just buy them, right?