For the Japan Times’ latest Sunday issue, I talked to electronic producer Yoshino Yoshikawa:
The Japanese word for cute, “kawaii,” has been popping up more and more in the English lexicon in recent years. From the popularity of Hello Kitty to singer Gwen Stefani’s new kawaii-filled cartoon “Kuu Kuu Harajuku,” being cute means making money, and it’s no different in the world of music.
Spurred by the global success of Harajuku model-turned-pop-star Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and the headbanging teens of Babymetal, Japanese acts that traffic in up-tempo beats and playful electronics can also expect to be labeled kawaii.
One such act is Tokyo-based producer Yoshino Yoshikawa. His songs are often described as cute by music critics and fellow creators (Canadian producer Ryan Hemsworth mashed-up a Yoshikawa track with one from rapper Danny Brown calling it “Kush Coma [Kawaii Yoshino Yoshikawa Version].”) And the label fits — some of Yoshikawa’s original works include “Kawaii Candy,” “Kawaii Macaron” and at least three cuts featuring the word “cat.”