Last updated on January 30th, 2023 at 05:27 pm

“Cute” is probably one of the most used adjectives in Japan. Cute things are well accepted by all generations. Even high school girls often describe an elderly man as cute. Cute is everywhere; in products, food, electric money, etc.

Is a pink credit card odd?

I had my first credit card when I was in my early twenties. It was issued by a bank in Japan, and it was pink with a cute illustration. It even says “ladies” somewhere in front.

It wasn’t really a must to have a credit card at that time because I paid everything by cash or pre-authorized payment through the bank. If I didn’t have enough cash or balance in the bank for a full amount of what I wanted, I simply waited until I had enough cash. I even forgot what I wanted after a while. Life was simpler in those days.

I decided to get one just because I was going to visit my sister who lived in California. My sister told me that it would be easier, especially if I wanted to rent a car. After the trip, I realized that I paid for almost everything with that credit card during the trip, and I realized that a cute pink credit card was not common in North America. Almost every cashier commented on my credit card. “Oh, it’s pink!”, “It’s so cute. Where did you get this?”, “Is this real thing?”, etc. Now I only have Canadian credit cards with boring designs, but don’t care much and they are just working fine.

How about a cute dog on a prepaid card?

Waon Card

Now in Japan, there is electric money called Waon. “Waon” is a sort of Japanese onomatopoeia that sounds like a dog barking softly (sort of). I mean a cute dog. Waon is not a credit card, but a prepaid card you can use at major retail stores, hotels, and restaurants. You can load a maximum of $300 at a time which is about the same amount of cash people normally carry in Japan. I can live with 20 bucks or often $0 cash in my wallet in Canada, but in Japan, there are many stores and public offices that don’t accept credit cards.

Waon Products

Branding and design for Waon were done by the Japanese creative agency DRAFT.

Hello Kitty to drink

Cute extends to cappuccino, too. Osaka-based coffee artist Kazuki Yamamoto can draw anything from Hello Kitty to Pope Benedict XVI.

Hello Kitty Latte Art