One of the questions asked during the Anniversary Giveaway was why Japanese people like cute (kawaii) things so much, as is evident in the cult of kyaraben or charaben. I'm not really sure of the answer to be honest, but it is true that from children to adults, women and even some men, love things that are cute and childlike. It may stem for the appreciation for detail in small objects like netsuke. Or maybe Japanese people are just a bit childish?
Or, maybe it's because from a very young age, Japanese kids are exposed to kawaii culture. This is from a childrens' program that airs on the NHK Education channel (NHK is the state-run TV station, equivalent to the BBC) called いないないばあっ！ (inai inai baa), which is also the name of the game you play with babies 'Now you see me...Now you don't!'. It's aimed at 0 to 2 year olds, and is the highest rated kid's show on the NHK. This song is called おにぎりぽん！(onigiri pon!)