Ever wonder why Japanese candy is full of funny faces?What is behind this Japanese focus on kawaii characters and mascots? The kawaii phenomenon began in the 1970's, although no one knows exactly how it started. One day, Hello Kitty, the original kawaii mascot, was invented. The next, high school students began purposefully writing in childlike handwriting and adult women began to use baby talk. The Japanese fixation with "cute" was born. The English translation for "Kawaii" is"cute." In Japanese, however, the word also connotes a child-like innocence and helplessness. In a country where growing up is synonymous with obligation and rules, maintaining childhood is form of rebellion. Kawaii candy packaging appeals to both children and adults. In Japan, consumers value packaging and are willing to pay more for it. This means that substantial resources can be used to develop and market candy mascots and characters. Although it's easy to view this kawaii trend as foreign, we enjoy these cute characters just as much as our Japanese counterparts. The cute faces and characters are a big part of what make Japanese candy fun and different. It's like meeting a new friend in your crate each month! Do you find the kawaii packaging as fun as we do? What's your favorite face/character from May's Japan Crate?