Cross-Cultural Comparisons of the Cute and Related Concepts in Japan,
the United States, and Israel
An online survey was conducted to clarify the semantic image of the cute
and attitudes toward cuteness in three countries: Japan, the United
States, and Israel (total N = 2,155). The results show a
remarkable resemblance in respondents’ conceptions of the cute
(kawaii in Japanese and hamud in Hebrew) across countries.
Several common tendencies were found: (1) Cuteness is highly appreciated
and believed to induce positive affective responses, (2) women tend to
find things cute more frequently and strongly than men do, (3) animal
babies are thought to be cuter than human babies, and (4) infants are
found to be cuter when people get older, while older people generally
show less positive attitudes toward cuteness. This study demonstrates
that the concept of cuteness and the feelings connected to its
perception are universal.