Hello Kitty is not a cat, according to Sanrio
She may look like a kitty, be cute like a kitty, and even have the word “kitty” in her name, but Sanrio’s most iconic and internationally beloved cartoon character is not, in fact, a cat. She’s a girl.
Hello Kitty scholar Christine R. Yano revealed the shocking news during an interview with the Los Angeles Times this week, explaining that Sanrio would adamantly refute any claims that the character is feline.
According to the Times, Yano once made the mistake of referring to Hello Kitty as a cat while preparing texts for an exhibit at the Japanese American National Museum.
“I was corrected — very firmly,” she says. “That’s one correction Sanrio made for my script for the show. 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.”
Despite today’s widespread chatter about the fact that Hello Kitty is not a cat, Sanrio confirmed to Kotaku’s Brian Ashcraft today that she was indeed created “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,” a Sanrio spokesperson explained to Ashcraft, using the word “gijinka” which means “anthropomorphization.”
When asked if Hello Kitty was like Snoopy the dog, Sanrio pointed out to Ashcraft that Snoopy was different because “Snoopy still lives in a doghouse, and Hello Kitty, well, lives in a house.”
Sanrio’s official Hello Kitty profile describes the character (whose real name is listed as “Kitty White) as neither cat nor human. She is simply “a cheerful and happy little girl with a heart of gold.”
The profile contains a wealth of information about the cat-like character’s background and interests, including the names of her parents (George White and Mary White) and her astrological sign (Scorpio.)
An avid baker, Kitty enjoys making pancakes, eating her mom’s homemade apple pie, collecting little stars, playing the piano and tennis.
She was born in the suburbs of London, England and weighs as much as “around 5 apples.”
“She has a twin sister,” added Yano in her interview with the LA Times. “She’s a perpetual third-grader. She lives outside of London. I could go on. A lot of people don’t know the story and a lot don’t care. But it’s interesting because Hello Kitty emerged in the 1970s, when the Japanese and Japanese women were into Britain. They loved the idea of Britain. It represented the quintessential idealized childhood, almost like a white picket fence. So the biography was created exactly for the tastes of that time.”
Hello Kitty — who turns 40 this year — has grown since the 1970’s to become one of cartoon merchandising’s greatest success stories.
Her brand is worth approximately $7 billion, according to the BBC, netting Sanrio an average of $759 million ever year off of Hello Kitty alone.
From lunchboxes and T-shirts to guns, grills, and even tombstones, Hello Kitty’s expressionless face now appears on more than 50,000 products that are sold in 70 countries around the world.
Close to the hearts of many millennial girls, you’d be hard pressed to find a young woman living in 2014 who hasn’t owned at least one piece of Hello Kitty merchandise at some point in her life.
Thus, many around the web were shocked — and even upset — by the news that Hello Kitty is not a cat. Some are wondering why, and how, Sanrio kept the fact that the character is a human being so low-key for 40 years.
Read more about this from the source.