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The truth about Hello Kitty


She has her own jet (courtesy of EVA Air), a castle in Shanghai, a personal hotel room in the Grand Hi-Lai Hotel in Taiwan, an amusement park in Malaysia, and then there’s the Hello Kitty Dreams restaurant in Beijing, Hello Kitty Café in Seoul, and a beauty spa in Dubai. Oh and the Hello Kitty maternity hospital in Taiwan.

 

In case you haven’t noticed Hello Kitty is big. We dish the dirt on this beloved character…but be warned, you will never be able to see her in the same light again.

 

  • She’s turning 40 on 1 November 2014.
  • She lives in London (but clearly does all her shopping in Tokyo).
  • She’s five apples high and weighs three apples (that’s what you get from having all those personalized restaurants – Jamie Oliver, take note).
  • She’s travelled in space aboard the Japanese satellite Hodoyoshi-3.
  • She’s not a cat.
  • She’s --- Hold on, wait, Hello Kitty isn’t a cat? According to Christine R. Yano, an anthropologist from the University of Hawaii (and currently a visiting professor at Harvard), Sanrio (Hello Kitty’s creator) has made it very clear that Hello Kitty is not a cat.

 

"I was corrected — very firmly," Ms Yano told the LA Times.

 

Ms Yano was preparing for her exhibit at the Japanese American National Museum when Sanrio made the correction.

 

"Hello Kitty is not a cat. She's a cartoon character. She is a little girl. She is a friend. But she is not a cat. She's never depicted on all fours. She walks and sits like a two-legged creature. She does have a pet cat of her own, however, and it's called Charmmy Kitty," Ms Yano said.

 

A spokesperson from Sanrio attemoted to clarify, telling gaming site Kotaku that "Hello Kitty was done in the motif of a cat”.

 

"It's going too far to say that Hello Kitty is not a cat. Hello Kitty is a personification of a cat."

 

Right. It seems we’ll soon need a university course on Hello Kitty to understand her.

 

"Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty," opens 11 October at the Japanese American National Museu, in downtown Los Angeles.

 

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Written by: Gaya Avery
Published: 1 September 2014


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