Authors: Nittono, H., Saito, H., Ihara, N., Fenocchio, D. N., & Andreau, J. M.

Title: English and Spanish Adjectives That Describe the Japanese Concept of Kawaii (日本語のかわいいの概念を表す英語とスペイン語の形容詞)

Journal(書誌情報): SAGE Open, 13(1).

doi: 10.1177/21582440231152415


Abstract: The word “kawaii” is ubiquitous in contemporary Japan and has spread to the rest of the world with the dissemination of Japanese pop culture. Although the word is conventionally translated in English as “cute,” its meaning is more nuanced than “cute,” and it is used for a wider variety of objects. The primary aim of this study was to determine if Spanish has an equivalent to the word “kawaii”; additionally, similarities and differences across Japanese, English, and Spanish were explored. An internet survey was conducted in which respondents from Japan (n = 486), the United States (n = 365), and Argentina (n = 303) were presented with various photographic images that were often described as “kawaii” in Japanese and asked to write three adjectives to describe the images. They were also instructed to rate their affective states when looking at each image in the valence and arousal dimensions. The results showed that babyish objects (e.g., human, animal, and toy) were most frequently defined as “kawaii” in Japanese, “cute” in English, and “tierno” in Spanish. The average frequency at which these words were used as primary adjectives was higher for “kawaii” (57.5%) than for “cute” (26.8%) or “tierno” (22.4%). All of these images were associated with positive and moderately-aroused affective states similarly across all three countries. The present study demonstrates that the adjectives “kawaii,” “cute,” and “tierno” can be used almost equivalently for describing babies and pets, but that the Japanese adjective “kawaii” encompasses wider categories than the other two words.

著者Contact先の email: nittono[at][at]を@に変更してください。)


「かわいい」といった日常概念について研究しようとすると,いわゆる認知心理学的な方法だけではうまく行かないことがあります。この論文の元になった調査は,アルゼンチンの認知神経科学者と「かわいい」についての共同研究を始めようとしたとき,そもそも「かわいい」や「cute」に対応するスペイン語が分からないという問題からスタートしました。言語の壁を超えるために,日本では「かわいい」と表現されることの多い写真をアメリカとアルゼンチンの人に見てもらい,それを形容する言葉を3つ挙げてもらうという方法で調査を行いました。その結果,米語ではcute,スペイン語では tierno/tirena(英語の tender)が赤ちゃんや幼い動物に対して最もよく使われる形容詞であることが分かりました。