Praying and buying charms at Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines famous for lucky attributes are Japanese rites of passage at every stage of life. Given our passion for pretty, why should beauty be any exception? For centuries, women (and men) have sought a spiritual cosmetic boost from two famous Kyoto shrines: Kawai Jinja and Utsukushi Gozensha.
Every time I look at the work of Takashi Murakami, I see both the super cute, charming surfaces for which Japan is rightly famous and all the demons that peek out behind them. He dreams up lovable blobs and dolls and oversized cuties to ask his compatriots what might be the cost of holding onto such childish things.
It is OK to discuss the issue from the viewpoints of biodiversity or environmental balance as long as they remain scientific arguments. If some kinds of whales are on the brink of extinction, we should stop the whaling of them. But if the criticism comes from cultural difference or preference, I would argue that there are other cultures in other places.