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#259 :: Tiny Sushi Stickers

October 25, 2004

There is doubtless a phrase for that most Japanese of motifs, the cute, tiny and colorful. It’s not chibi but I’m betting it’s related. This motif shows up in products and content, from Hello Kitty to the margin-doodled characters in otherwise deadly-serious cyber-goth manga by Masamune Shirow. And it intersects with essentially purposeless ephemera such as a transparent sheetload of sushi stickers. When you put them on your notebook or your camera phone or your school bag, what do they signify? How do you parse the visual syntax of a tiny picture of ornamentally prepared food? You don’t. They’re fun. They’re small. They’re cute. They’re … what’s the word?

Filed under: symbol | Comments (3)


  1. Wonderduck November 2, 2004 @ 11:15 am


  2. miranda November 6, 2004 @ 3:26 am

    Or, in the case of the kawaii marginalia of manga artists, “superdeformed.”

  3. mack November 9, 2004 @ 11:52 am

    I think the correct phrase for superdeformed is “chibi.”