Lil Kawaii was once a rising star among Japanese fashion bloggers. Based in Tokyo, she had more than 130,000 followers on Instagram and tens of thousands of likes on each of her photos. Many fans were attracted by her looks: She’s a petite girl with big eyes and pouty lips, which made her perfect for the kawaii (“cute”) style of dressing she loved. But what really made Lil stand out was that she was a genuine insider who documented an insular subculture – one that is often shrouded in mystery – for the world to see. Thus began the rise of Lil Kawaii, one of Japan’s most famous online fashion personalities during the peak of kawaii culture in 2018. Within months, however, Lil would be exposed as a fraudster; then go silent; and eventually vanish from social media without explanation. It’s like something straight out of an episode from “The Curious Case Files of…” What exactly happened to Lil Kawaii? This article will investigate what lead up to her sudden disappearance and explore how it changed the entire kawaii scene forever…
How Lil Kawaii Became a Famous Japanese Blogger
Like many bloggers of her generation, Lil began her career on the Japanese social network called “Shibuya109” (“Shibuya” for short), where users can share photos and post comments on each other’s posts. If you’ve never heard of Shibuya, you’re not alone: It’s one of the less well-known social media platforms among non-Japanese users. It has about as many users as Twitter, for example, but very little international recognition. But it’s the perfect place to start a blogging career, because it’s easy to build up a following there, and the website has all the features a blogger needs to grow.
The Rise of Kawaii Culture
First, let’s look at the rise of kawaii culture in general. Kawaii has become hugely prevalent in Japan, with everything from advertising to everyday items branded with pink imagery. There are some who believe that kawaii culture’s rise is linked to the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami; it was an event that shook the entire country, and it may have encouraged the population to seek something more “cute” and less intense to take their minds off the tragedy. But regardless of the reasons behind its rise, kawaii has become a massive part of Japanese culture. Now, let’s go back to Shibuya, which is where all the kawaii bloggers can be found. The platform has been around since 2002, but it didn’t start becoming famous (and kawaii) until about four years ago.
How Lil Kawaii Used Her Influence to Build an Empire
Lil Kawaii’s blog became so incredibly popular because she was very good at what she did. Her posts were well designed and contained useful information for kawaii bloggers. She also kept her blog updated almost every day, which is not an easy task. And Lil always acknowledged the other bloggers who had inspired her, which earned her enormous respect from fellow kawaii influencers. She even managed to get several collaborations with brands because of her blog’s success. As Lil Kawaii became more and more successful, she attracted more and more attention.
So What Exactly is “Kawaii”?
The term “kawaii” is difficult to translate, but it’s basically a style of dressing, styling one’s hair, and applying make-up that is inspired by cute things, such as cartoon characters or pastel colours. Kawaii culture is predominantly aimed at teenage girls and is closely associated with the Japanese idol culture. These performers are often young, doe-eyed, and very feminine. The kawaii style is also very pink, so the colour is used a lot in the decoration of rooms, clothes, accessories, and even food.
It Turns Out Lil Kawaii Wasn’t Actually That Kawaii After All…
As her blog grew in popularity, more and more people began to question how genuine Lil really was. She was so good at branding herself as a kawaii girl, but she didn’t live anywhere near Japan. Her social media bios stated that she was originally from California, but she moved to Japan for “fashion”. As far as anyone could tell, though, she was just visiting the country. She also had a very lavish lifestyle for someone who didn’t seem to have a job. Lil often posted photos of expensive meals, exotic vacations, and new designer clothing. But she never mentioned any source of income.
Why Did Lil Kawaii Suddenly Disappear from the Internet?
Fans started putting two and two together after Lil Kawaii posted a photo of herself with a large wad of cash, bragging about how much she had “earned”. That was the final straw. Her followers began to accuse her of being a fake, and the scandal eventually reached some of the biggest kawaii bloggers in the country. It turned out that those other bloggers had been suspicious of Lil Kawaii for a long time, but they hadn’t wanted to speak out against her because of her high-profile status.
The Conclusion: Where Did Lil Kawaii Go?
Once the truth about Lil Kawaii came to light, the kawaii community exploded. The news was everywhere, people were talking about it constantly, and there was even talk of trying to take legal action against Lil for fraud. But since Lil Kawaii had disappeared from social media, there was nothing to indicate that she had been found out. Her account on Shibuya had been deleted, and she had made no attempt to defend herself or apologise to her followers. This silence was tense; the kawaii community had turned against each other in a dramatic way. But as days turned into weeks, it became obvious that nothing would happen. Lil Kawaii would never reappear to defend herself and she would never apologise.
The kawaii community is still reeling from Lil Kawaii’s scandal. Many followers have left the scene, and many of the most famous kawaii bloggers have retired. It’s unclear whether kawaii culture will ever recover. As for Lil Kawaii, no one knows where she went, but we can be sure that she’ll never appear in the kawaii scene again. After all, kawaii’s motto is “pure, innocent, and childlike”, and Lil Kawaii was none of those things.