I have two questions about the famous k word in japanese.

  1. I have seen this conversation between a guy and a girl and was a little bit puzzled by the girl's answer:

    Guy : xxx-ちゃんはかわいいです

    Girl : xxx-さんほどではありません

    Is it common for a girl to call a guy 「かわいい」? Is the guy supposed to be flattered or is it some kind of teasing?

  2. Do guys usually use the word 「かわいい」 or is it exclusively used by girls?

2 Answers 2


It is totally fine to use かわいい to male, especially boys (10s and 20s).

In general, boys who tend to be seen as かわいい are those who have bigger eyes, double eyelids, clear, lighter skin, little or no beard, non-short hair style, are thin, and/or fashionable.

You can get to see example usages on male actors. Insert whatever actors you deem pretty with かわいい in Twitter search box. The example below is from 岡田将生, a famous male actor.

  • 岡田将生くん かわいいって毎日言ってるけど、ほんまかわいい(定期)癒される

    — 昴 (@ka0_11) 2017年5月7日

  • 岡田将生と綾野剛の泣き顔がかわいすぎる。。

    — HANA (@HANA59386040) 2017年5月6日

  • 岡田将生がかっこつけて刑事役してるのちょーかわいい。

    — ソー (@so_matsusita) 2017年5月7日

Boys might also say かわいい to other boys, though it is far rarer than girls saying it to boys. I feel that if a boy says かわいい to a boy, it is usually referring to himself as a sort of joking or teasing.

Moreover, in some cases middle-aged men might get かわいい here or there for his behaviors. In this case, the equivalent English meaning should be more like pleasant or charming than cute or pretty. The examples:

  • お父さんってたまにかわいいところがあるよね.弁当自分で作ったのに忘れていったり.

  • さっき乗った電車,車掌さんが言い間違いしたのに必死でごまかそうとして可愛かった.

You rarely see any cases that people say かわいい to middle-aged men for his appearances, though.


Firstly ,if that girl is talking about a guy, this example sounds strange.

But, if she was talking about another girl than it would sound fine.




And sometimes this can happen, where the guy could be saying to the girl that he is talking to is "cute", but in the below situation the girl defers the complement using what is called「謙遜{けんそん}」humility. Most situations like this people will not take the complement directly like it might be in western cultures where the person may say "Thank you" to the compliment



To answer the first question, unless you (male or female) are talking about a child (boy) where you might say the child is 「かわいい」or 「かわいらしい」 than there are very few cases where someone would refer to a man as 「かわいい」

Second question, it is perfectly fine for males to use the word 「かわいい」in everyday conversation, but like I said before, not towards another male, that just sounds weird.

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