Tags: hello kitty | not | cat | cartoon | sanrio

Hello Kitty Not a Cat? Cartoon Loyals Grapple With Gasp-Inducing Admission

Image: Hello Kitty Not a Cat? Cartoon Loyals Grapple With Gasp-Inducing Admission
In this 2013 file photo, the Hello Kitty balloon float makes its way down Macy's Thanksgiving day parade in New York. (Carlo Allegri/Reuters/Landov)  

By    |   Thursday, 28 Aug 2014 09:09 AM

Hello Kitty, the adorable cultural icon that emerged in Japan in 1974 and took the United States by storm shortly afterward to adorn countless childhood items and fashion designs, is not really a cat.

Say it ain't so, but Christine R. Yano, a professor of anthropology at the University of Hawaii and the author of the book "Pink Globalization: Hello Kitty's Trek Across the Pacific," went public with the admission Tuesday.

Yano told the Los Angeles Times that she was preparing Hello Kitty's text for her exhibit at the Japanese American National Museum when she was "corrected — very firmly" by Hello Kitty creator company Sanrio: "Hello Kitty is not a cat. She's a cartoon character."

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"She is a little girl," Yano told the Times. "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."

Yano revealed some more surprising facts about the Hello Kitty "girl," including the fact that she's British.

"She has a twin sister," Yano said. "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."

The Hello Kitty revelation caught many who grew up with the childhood figure off guard.

"While Yano seems tickled by this Hello Kitty surprise, the world is reacting in shock," People.com noted. "We've been duped by a strange, dead-eyed child, who has been a 'kitty' only by name for four decades. What's next? Is Mickey Mouse a big-eared boy with a shirt aversion? Is Bugs Bunny just a retired comedian on a strict vegetarian diet? One thing is certain, cartoon characters can no longer be trusted — no matter how many lunch boxes they've graced."

Singer Josh Groban was especially incensed about the new admission.


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Hello Kitty, the adorable cultural icon that emerged in Japan in 1974 and took the United States by storm shortly afterward to adorn countless childhood items and fashion designs, is not really a cat.
hello kitty, not, cat, cartoon, sanrio
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2014-09-28
Thursday, 28 Aug 2014 09:09 AM
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