Have you ever wondered where the current obsession with Japanese characters in animation and modern fashion began? Beginning with Yokai: supernatural monsters, spirits, and demons in Japanese folklore, we discover how the following mutual fascination between East and Western culture became the catalyst to the creation of some of your favorite characters. In deconstructing the political and social landscape of Japan, learn how animation developed as a medium throughout art history to communicate important feelings through anthropomorphosis. Popular characters such as Godzilla, Sailor Moon’s Luna, and Studio Ghibli’s furry companions become heroes in our own lives- and it didn’t happen without the influence of our good friend Mickey Mouse! Explore living power-house artists such as Takashi Murakami who have honed in on the Kawaii Aesthetic using characters as he has branded the Japanese style in collaboration with museums, fashion houses such as Louis Vuitton, and even Uniqlo. By discovering the origin of some of the cutest characters in history, we can learn how the uniquely Japanese skill of creating Kawaii is the most effective way to evoke strong feelings, messages, and a bond to each monster which we can’t help but fall in love with.