Burikko, a term used to describe girls who put on the appearance of being almost unbearably cute and innocent, is a well-known personality type here in Japan. The thought of a girl who affects another personality when out in public might not be especially appealing to some at first, but this isn’t simply a case of young women being two-faced; Burikko has that special hint of Japanese Kawaii culture and appeals to a surprising number of men.


The Unwavering Burikko Character

The term Burikko, and years before it Kamatoto, is usually used only for girls. To put it simply, Burikko describes the kind of girl who pretends to be cute, either acting in a totally different way to her true self or taking her inner kawaii to the absolute max. Even outside Japan, you might imagine some young girls doing something similar to appeal to men, but in Japan, Burikko isn’t about sex appeal so much as for the pleasure of being seen as cute and innocent.

Here are some traits common to Burikko:

  • affecting a lisp
  • speaking with a voice that is much higher than their natural voice
  • using their own name when speaking in the first person
  • pretending to be naive
  • changes attitudes and behaviour when around men
  • upturned doe eyes

We think you get the picture! But here’s the really interesting part: there are girls who affect a Burikko personality only when they are with men, and there are girls who are Burikko regardless of who they are with. Most people have the image of Burikko as the former, and that might seem more logical in a way, so here’s my investigation into why Burikko even exist to begin with, and why these types have emerged.


After all, Burikko are the most popular with men!

Girls who don’t like Burikko often say that guys who find Burikko attractive are stupid because they are being tricked by such blatant acting. However, men who like Burikko tend to think that their attempt at making themselves look so cute is in itself endearing. On the other hand—even though it’s a fake, or exaggerated, personality—some men take great comfort from the fact that Burikko are so “easy to understand”, especially when it comes to how they feel about them. In addition, men can easily think of ways to make a Burikko girl happy; since Burikko usually react to things extremely positively and with such energy, the men too feel pleased.


Why do some girls become Burikko?

Those who are “men-only” Burikko often simply want to be popular. Although not many girls tolerate Burikko, a surprising number of men associate typical Burikko behavior with the concept of true kawaii. Any girl who desperately wants to be seen as beautiful or cute, therefore, knows that becoming a Burikko is a sure-fire way to be told again and again just how kawaii she is since it is literally the essence of her character.

Those who keep up their Burikko behavior around both men and women, however, are a bit different. Most of the time, these girls aren’t simply pretending to be cute or innocent, they just are. Very often, however, such girls tend to be thought of as “too girly” or “overdoing” it to be thought natural. As a result, whether they were trying to be or not, they end up being called Burikko.


How do you feel about this?

Of course, as I mentioned, there are people who simply cannot abide Burikko and people who find them adorable. Here are some of their opinions.


“Burikko are very girly and cute, so I personally like them. The kind of Burikko who receive criticism are usually the ones who are normal in front of girls and suddenly change their attitude as soon as a man is around. If they are evenly Burikko to everybody, I have nothing against it.”

“I like Burikko—but only the ones who are Burikko to everybody.”


“Some say Burikko is just showing off their femininity, but is being Burikko the only way to do that? There are many attractive women who aren’t Burikko. So I guess those who aren’t popular just had no other choice but to act this way or something? There are many men who don’t like Burikko either. If these girls are just pretending to be like this, they should really think about their attitude…”

“If a girl is Burikko, then they’re pretending to be someone they aren’t. I just don’t like two-faced people.”


How do you feel about this? Do you like either type? Or do you just not like Burikko at all?

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