Photograph of cute goods, including boba-themed items, on display at a store.

Welcome to!

This website gathers and disseminates research conducted in Professor Erica Kanesaka's Cute Studies course at Emory University (Atlanta, Georgia, USA).

Cute studies is an emergent field of inquiry that critically analyzes the power of cuteness as an aesthetic that pervades multiple facets of global culture.

Professor Kanesaka's undergraduate-level Cute Studies course examines cuteness in the context of the politics of race, gender, sexuality, disability, and age, with special attention to the globalization of Japanese kawaii culture and its impact on Asian diasporas. You can view an open-access syllabus here, and learn more about the course in its feature in Emory News.

For the culminating assignment in the course, students contribute original articles to the Cute Compendium, a digital resource indexing the history, culture, and politics surrounding notable cute characters, objects, animals, figures, companies, creators, texts, genres, and sub-aesthetics. 

Please enjoy perusing this small sampling of cute studies scholarship advanced by undergraduate researchers! was developed, designed, and edited by:

Professor Erica Kanesaka is a writer and researcher who specializes in the racial and sexual politics of kawaii and cuteness. She is an Assistant Professor of English at Emory University, where she teaches courses in Asian American literature and culture that focus on feminism, childhood, and popular culture. Her cute studies research has appeared in scholarly journals including the Journal of Asian American Studies and positions: asia critique. She also regularly writes about cuteness for public audiences in forums such as Catapult and Public Books. For more information, you can find her at @cutestudiesprof on Instagram or at

Hazel Oh (Project Assistant) graduated from Emory University in May 2023 with a B.A. degree in English and minor in Philosophy. Her academic interests revolve around Korean and Asian American issues, cute/kawaii studies, transnational feminisms, and children’s literature and media. During her senior year, she completed an English honors thesis, "Cute Korean Women, Cute Korean Girls: Kawaii Digestibility in Crying in H Mart and Pucca" (link) under the direction of Professor Kanesaka.

Additional Resources

More cute studies websites from around the world:

Aww-Struck: Creative and Critical Approaches to Cuteness (Caroline Harris, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK & Dr. Isabel Galleymore, University of Birmingham, UK) Portal (Dr. Joshua Paul Dale, Chuo University, Japan)

Megan Catherine Rose's Website (Dr. Megan Catherine Rose, UNSW Sydney, Australia)

Recommended readings offering Japanese and Asian American women's perspectives on kawaii and cuteness:

Bow, Leslie. "Racist Cute: Caricature, Kawaii-Style, and the Asian Thing." American Quarterly 71, no. 1 (2019): 29–58.

Iseri, Makiko. "Flexible Femininities? Queering Kawaii in Japanese Girls’ Culture." Twenty-First Century Feminism: Forming and Performing Femininity, edited by Nally Claire and Angela Smith. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.

Kanesaka, Erica. "The Healing Power of Virtual Cuteness." Public Books, March 17, 2022,

Kanesaka, Erica. "The Mixed-Race Fantasy Behind Kawaii Aesthetics." Catapult, January 17, 2023,

Lee, Wendy Allison. "Cute. Dangerous. Asian American. 'Gremlins' @35." Public Books, July 5, 2019,

McKee, Kimberly. "The Consumption of Adoption and Adoptees in American Middlebrow Culture." Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly 42, no. 3 (2019): 66992.

Rose, Megan Catherine, Haruka Kurebayashi, and Rei Saionji. "Kawaii Affective Assemblages: Cute New Materialism in Decora Fashion, Harajuku." M/C Journal 25, no. 4 (2022),

Tran, Sharon. "Kawaii Asian Girls Save the Day! Animating a Minor Politics of Care." MELUS: Multi-Ethnic Literature of the U.S. 43, no. 3 (2018): 19–41.

Yano, Christine R. Pink Globalization: Hello Kitty’s Trek Across the Pacific. Durham: Duke University Press, 2013.