About All Things Kawaii
All Things Kawaii (ATK) is the original links directory dedicated to everything cute on the Web, from adorable cartoon characters to tiny, bouncing icons. Formerly featuring a cute site every weekday, ATK now consists of a rather large directory of all sorts of great web sites.
The aim of this site is to entertain its visitors by sharing "kawaii" (cute in Japanese) web sites from all around the world. The sites offered are intended to be enjoyable to a general audience, so the majority are pretty fun and friendly.
All Things Kawaii first launched on August 19, 2001. It started off with sending emails about cute sites to friends, who later suggested that I create a web site to share my finds with others.
The current design of ATK is based on scans from stationery from my personal collection. The character is Nyan Nyan Nyanko, and the company that created it is San-X.
I get lots of emails asking what things like "kawaii" and "kao ani" mean, so here's a quick primer on some of these terms.
Kawaii is a Japanese word that is roughly translated to mean cute, pretty, dear, charming, or lovely. It can be used to describe a person or objects and has become more known outside of Japan as a result of the growing interest in anime and Japanese pop culture.
The pronunciation of "kawaii" is "kah-why-ee," similar to the proper pronunciation of "Hawaii." It is often confused with another Japanese word, "kowai" or scary, which is pronounced "koh-why."
You can learn more about kawaii on the Wikipedia page for "Cuteness in Japanese culture."
Kawaii Noir, or "dark kawaii" is a variation that describes things that are cute but have a slightly sinister quality to them. Some examples of "kawaii noir" include the art by illustrator/artist Junko Mizuno, which includes themes of sweet, pretty girls and plenty of gore, or the character Gloomy Bear, a cute, pink bear with sharp claws that actually maims and kills the boy who befriends him.
This is Japanese slang for something that is both cute or pretty and weird or even grotesque. These attributes may apply to their appearance or even their behavior. For example, Happy Tree Friends could be considered "kimo-kawaii," because they look cute but do very awful things.
You can read more about kimo-kawaii in this post at "watashi to tokyo."
This is Japanese slang for something that is both cute and ugly in appearance. This is especially applied to animals, like those participating in the World's Ugliest Dog Contest. However, not everyone thinks these dogs are also cute.
You can read more about busa-kawaii in this post at "watashi to tokyo."
This phrase is a combination of Japanese and English, used to describe small graphics of animated faces. The word "kao" means face and "ani" is short for animated or animation.
These graphics are often look more like blobs than human faces, though they can sometimes be drawn to look like animals. The animation is often quite simple, with only a few frames making the character bob up and down as they float in one spot.
You can find examples of "kao ani" within the Graphics > Kao Ani category.
Depending on the context, this Japanese word can mean different things, but is roughly translated as "raw materials," "foundation materials," "subject matter." Within the context of web sites, it is often used to apply to web graphics or web materials, usually available for free use from a variety of web sites.
You can find examples of "sozai" within the Graphics > Web Materials category. You can also try searching for sozai in a search engine, especially a Japanese one (Yahoo! Japan, for example), to see what comes up.
As a side note, I've also seen the term "sozai" applied to readymade food at a local Japanese market, most often including bento boxes of common foods such as teriyaki, onigiri (rice balls), and so on.
Using the word adoptions in relation to web graphics may seem strange, but it has become quite popular among a lot of cute, personal web sites you'll see. A site that offers "adoptions" will have a selection of free web graphics or "pixels" that you may use on your own web site, provided you link back to the creator's web site. Placing this graphic with a link is considered "adopting" the graphic, and some people create a special page or "toybox" for these graphics.
Please be aware that you should not directly link to the actual image when adopting such a graphic. You should copy it to your own web server and use it as you would another graphic, so as to not steal someone else's bandwidth.
Also, some sites offering adoptable graphics ask that only one person adopt each graphic. They might ask you to register with them and choose the graphic you want to adopt. Some of them even consider you the "parent" of the graphic when you sign up.
You can find examples of graphic adoptions within the Graphics > Adoptions category.
ATK is hosted by DreamHost
Some graphics used on this site were provided by:
Blue Water (No longer online)