You can't help feeling affected by these large blue eyes starring back at you. With an expression that varies from dull to surprised to friendly to apathetic and dreamy, Maki Hosakawa's infant-like characters bare traits that reflect prominent aspects of Japan's popular culture: Cuteness! Kawaii, a Japanese word that is roughly translated to mean cute, pretty, dear, charming, or lovely, is used to describe a person or objects and has become known as a result of the growing interest in anime and Japanese pop culture. In this context, characters that are referred to as kawaii are associated with infantile personality traits, such as playfulness, fragility, helplessness, curiosity, innocence, affectionate behavior and a need to be nurtured, as well as physical traits such as small body size with a disproportionately large head, large eyes, a small nose, dimples, and round and softer body features. In addition to these child-like elements, Hosokawa's girly figures are attractively young and very stylish - If you could smell them, they would probably smell like a mix of fresh pink strawberry bubblegum and fruity shampoo and if you could hear them, they would probably speak to you in a soft pre-adolescent voice. They cover themselves with adorable flower accessories, worry about the perfect make up for their flawless white skin, take yoga classes or spend time with their girlfriends in their trendy rooms to gossip or catch the newest episode of their favorite TV series. Scantily dressed, these girls represent a new generation of women in Japan who not only are part of this neophilic culture, but also choose to play along with a form of societal infantilization as a way of facing a strictly vertical society. In their very own pathetically helpless way, Hosokawa's characters become the victims of their own celebration of a perennial youth and refusal to face reality in an adult manner. This is translated into the artist's application of flat painting technique which not only refers to various flattened forms in Japanese graphic art, animation, pop culture and fine arts, but also to the shallow emptiness of Japanese consumer culture. Bright and mostly non-representational colors and forms accentuate the latter by deliberately creating a simplified composition that is reflective of a superficial reality.