“Hello Kitty, the adorable cultural force that began life as a character on a coin purse in Japan [in] 1974,” is NOT a cat, reports the Los Angeles Times.
The article is about a Hello Kitty art exhibit that’s been assembled by “Christine R. Yano, [who] is an anthropologist from the University of Hawaii (and currently a visiting professor at Harvard) who has spent years studying the phenomenon that is Hello Kitty,” says the Times. Yano has talked extensively with Sanrio, who created Hello Kitty.
“When Yano was preparing her written texts for the exhibit at the Japanese American National Museum, she says she described Hello Kitty as a cat. ‘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.’ ”
The story adds: “Hello Kitty is British. Kitty is actually named Kitty White and she has a full back story. She is a Scorpio. She loves apple pie. And she is the daughter of George and Mary White.”
The article adds this quote from Yano: “She has a twin sister. 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.”
We here at TVWeek are speechless. Talk about brand confusion. What are we going to learn next, that SpongeBob is not really a sponge?