The world`s favorite bobtail cat Hello Kitty has reached the BIG 40! Can you believe it?!
All around the world, and especially in Japan, there are Hello Kitty celebrations with events like hugathon where you get the chance to hug a life-sized version of Hello Kitty. Several brands are launching Hello Kitty themed products like Mitsubishi`s Mirage Hello Kitty edition pink vehicle, Bandai`s Chogokin Transformer Hello Kitty Robot, and the pearl and diamond Mikimoto x Hello Kitty jewelry collection.
Also, Eva Air has Hello Kitty-themed airplanes that fly between Paris and Taipei to celebrate the big birthday, with food decorated as Hello Kitty. Would love to fly with that cute airplane!
Who Is Hello Kitty?
Hello Kitty was produced by the Japanese company Sanrio, created by Yuko Shimizu and currently designed by Yuko Yamaguchi. She is a Japanese bobtail cat with a red bow. She first appeared on a vinyl coin purse in Japan in 1974 that was brought to the United States in 1976.
Hello Kitty soon became a big part of the Japanese popular culture and featured on a lot of products like clothes, shoes, accessories, toys, mobile covers, guitars, laptops, wine etc. New series with Hello Kitty in different themed designs are released regularly, following current trends.
By 2014, when Hello Kitty turned 40 years old, she was worth incredibly $7 billion a year, all without any advertising! Unbelievable!
Hello Kitty is also the main character at the two Japanese Sanrio theme parks, Harmonyland and the indoor Sanrio Puroland. Hello Kitty and Mimmy celebrated their 40th anniversary on 1st of November 2014. The “ARIGOTO EVERYONE!” Birthday Celebration was taking place at Sanrio Puroland in Tokyo for several days. Hope you had an awesome party Hello Kitty!
10 Things You Did Not Know About Hello Kitty
1. Her real name is Kitty White.
2. She is five apples in height and three apples in weight.
3. She has a twin sister called Mimmy. While Hello Kitty wears a red bow on her left ear, Mimmy wears a yellow one on the right ear.
4. She has been the US children`s ambassador for UNICEF since 1983.
5. Her first love was Dear Daniel. He is portrayed as fashionable and sensitive, good at dancing and playing the piano, with an interest in photography, and dreams of being a celebrity. He is also a globetrotter and often away from home, and there are rumors that Hello Kitty is having an affair with Tippy the Bear….hmmm.
6. She promotes every thinkable product, except alcohol and cigarettes.
7. She was born in the suburbs of London on November 1st, 1974.
8. She has two pets; a cat and a hamster. Charmmy Kitty is a white Persian cat and wears a necklace that holds the key to Hello Kitty’s jewelry box. Her hamster Sugar was a gift from Dear Daniel.
9. She is good at baking cookies and loves Mama’s homemade apple pie.
10. She likes to collect cute things and her favorite subjects in school are English, music, and art.
Why Is Hello Kitty So Popular?
Hello Kitty is huge in Japan, and we saw her everywhere, especially in the big cities like Tokyo and Kyoto. She is also very popular in the rest of Asia, especially Taiwan and South Korea.
In Taipei in Taiwan, they have a Hello Kitty themed restaurant named “Hello Kitty Sweets” where it`s decor and many of its dishes are patterned after the Hello Kitty character.
They also have a Hello Kitty-themed maternity hospital in Yuanlin, Taiwan, where Hello Kitty is featured on blankets, room decor, bed linens, birth certificate covers, and nurses’ uniforms. The hospital’s owner explained that he hoped that the theme would help ease the stress of childbirth.
In South Korea, they have Hello Kitty Cafes several places in the country.
There have been several Hello Kitty series on TV over the years, as well as video games and even a music album! Yep, Hello Kitty is everywhere! 🙂
Also, Avril Lavigne released a song in 2013 called “Hello Kitty“:
I think the whole Hello Kitty concept is fascinating, and I am quite impressed by how the company behind her has managed to make her so big all across the world without spending any money on marketing.
She is a big part of the whole “cuteness” rebellion trend of Japan which goes back to the 70s. While the USA and Europe had hippies, Japan had cuteness where young people did not want to grow up and step into the serious adult world with long working days. So instead they dressed up in childish clothes with cute hairstyles as a rebellion against the grown-up society.
The crazy Maid Cafes in Tokyo are inspired by Hello Kitty and her cuteness.
We used the Lonely Planet`s Japan travel guide on our trip. You can get that and other great books by clicking on the pictures below:
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Hover over the image below, and press the red “Save” button that pops up:
What do you think of Japan`s biggest pop culture phenomenon? Do you or your kids have any Hello Kitty items? Please leave a comment in the comment area below. If you found this interesting or useful, please share on social media! Thanks! 🙂