Over Spring Break I went to Disney’s Epcot and they had a wonderfully cute exhibit at the Japan Pavilion’s Bijutsu-kan Gallery called “Cute Culture.” Below are my photos and some more information about the exhibit along with official information from the Epcot website.
Above is the official photo for the gallery from the Disney Park’s blog. I wanted to use all my own photos in this post, but I am super shy and there were a lot of people at the exhibit so I didn’t get all the snaps I wanted. This one shows the zen garden in the center and the fake apartment on the back wall so I wanted to post it. Here is the official blurb as well:
Step inside this charming exhibit and you can’t help but break into a smile.
The first item that will undoubtedly catch your eye is a sizeable Melty-Go-Round statue formed in the shape of a Harajuku girl. Created by Japanese artist and designer Sebastian Masuda, this mixed media piece is filled with a colorful array of jewelry, toys and tchotchkes from his travels. It makes the perfect preamble to the types of items you’ll find on display.
Kawaii (pronounced like Hawai‘i) means cute or loveable—and represents an obsession with all things darling. Think Hello Kitty ©SANRIO CO., LTD, which is included in this special showing.
Visit this exhibition and you’ll explore the history of kawaii design and discover how it’s rooted deep in the country’s Shinto past. You’ll also learn why it’s become a fundamental aspect of Japanese culture and has developed as a means of expressing one’s self at home, work and play. Cuteness literally pervades everything from fashion, food and housewares to architectural structures such as schoolhouses.
Historical artifacts are showcased to illustrate the early emergence of this phenomenon, while a replica of a modern Tokyo apartment is sure to wow. You won’t believe the sheer volume of items available for cute-minded superfans to fill their lives with wall-to-wall cuddly characters and delightful decor.
Now for my photos:
Here is Sebastian Masuda’s amazing Melty-Go-Round (Harajuku Girl) sculpture in all her glory. She is made of translucent plastic that has been filled with colorful toys and plush items, pom pom, and all sorts of other things. This is easily one of the most joyful sculptures I’ve ever seen in person and there were happy vibes just pouring out of her. Everyone who walked in waited their turn to take a photo with Melty; I took one but the overhead lighting made me look 80 years old so I am not sharing it.
On the wall is this little plaque with the concept sketch of Melty-Go-Round and more information about her from the artist. The photo is clear enough that you can read all about her if you click on the image.
One of the cases had this mannequin all decked out in a kawaii/sweet lolita style. Her plaque reads:
Kasami Izuki, like many Japanese youth, as turned kawaii style into a means of self-expression. Life as a student in Tokyo is rigorous, but the city allows Izuki-chan and her friends many opportunities for fun. They can be found in the fashionable Shibuya district, shopping for the latest collectibles and posing the photos in colorful and stylish cosplay outfits.
In the apartment, which I did not get a picture of (unfortunately), there are tons of adorable things, including Nendoroids and Pretty Cure toilet paper, I kid you not. There were also some amazing lavender platform booties, phone charms, lots of Hello Kitty, and many Hatsune Miku figures. My boyfriend asked me if that’s what my room would look like if I had one and I immediately said yes. Happily, we are working on getting a bigger place so I can have a room for all of my things and that’s decorated like I want.
There were glass cases all around and this was the “Official Cute” section which featured these bunny traffic barricades. Above there are shelves of cute things including tokidoki stuff, which is odd since tokidoki designer Simone Legno is Italian and not Japanese at all. Maybe they put them in there because of his love of Japanese culture? I’m very skeptical. Clearly Epcot needs to call me in as a consultant or curator for future exhibits, an offer which I humbly accept. Joking aside I would be amazing at this job, call me.
There you have it, a mini-tour of the “Cute Culture” exhibit at Epcot. If you can’t get out to Orlando I hope my very incomplete photos gave you a small taste of the exhibit. If you can get out there I highly recommend going because it’s a really great collection.
What do you all think of this exhibit and Melty-Go-Round? I would love to hear from you in the comments!