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Hello Kitty (ハローキティ Harō Kiti?)[1], is a fictional character produced by the Japanese company Sanrio, first designed by Yuko Shimizu. The character is a staple of the kawaii segment of Japanese popular culture.[2] The character is portrayed as a female white Japanese bobtail cat with a red bow. The character's first appearance on an item, a vinyl coin purse, was introduced in Japan in 1975 and brought to the United States in 1976.[3][4] This debut came under the Sanrio company lineup, where her various products are still developed and sold.

The Hello Kitty trademark has since spread globally and developed licensing arrangements worth more than $1 billion annually.[5] Examples of products depicting the character include dolls, stickers, greeting cards, clothes, accessories, school supplies, dishes and home appliances.[6] Her fame as a recurring Sanrio character has led to the creation of two officially licensed Hello Kitty theme parks, Harmonyland and the indoor Sanrio Puroland.

Product design

File:EVA hellokitty1.JPG

The Hello Kitty Airbus A330-200

Hello Kitty can be found on a variety of consumer products ranging from school supplies to fashion accessories. In Japan, Hello Kitty products is the theme of local tourist attractions.

Some of the Hello Kitty products range from rare collectibles to branding every day products such as mineral water, contact lenses, feminine wipes, blood pressure gauges, toilets, rifles, exhaust pipes and tooth caps to name a few.

Hello Kitty has her own branded album, Hello World, featuring Hello Kitty-inspired songs performed by a collection of artists, including Keke Palmer and Cori Yarckin. Sanrio and Fender released a series of Hello Kitty guitars (the Hello Kitty Stratocaster), and even a jet airplane (the Hello Kitty Jet).

In Asia, they released limited-edition Hello Kitty credit cards.Template:Nonspecific As of 2010, Bank of America offers Hello Kitty-themed checking accounts, where the account holder can get cheques and a Visa debit card with Kitty's face on it.[7]

2009 also marked the collaboration between apparel and accessory brand Stussy and Hello Kitty. Stussy worked with Hello Kitty on collection focusing on the Hello Kitty character with Stussy signature graphics. This collection included T-shirts, keychains, and hoodies.

Hello Kitty coloring books were also on the kid's menu at Yoshinoya Restaurants for a limited time in the United States.

In 2010, Hello Kitty will enter the wine market with a Hello Kitty Wine collection made up of four wines that will be available for purchase online. According to The Daily Update, the idea came to Camomilla S.P.A. It is an Italian company that created the tagline: "Our favorite girl has grown up." The Hello Kitty wines will come in 4 types: a sparkling Brut rosé, a sparkling "Sweet Pink", an Angel White and a Devil Red.[8]

MasterCard debit cards have featured Hello Kitty as a design since 2004. It was released to teach younger girls how to shop and use a debit card.[9]

Video games

Numerous Hello Kitty games have been produced since the release of the first title for NES in 1992; however, the majority of these games haven't seen a release outside of Japan. Hello Kitty also has made cameo appearances in games featuring other Sanrio characters, such as the Keroppi game, Kero Kero Keroppi no Bōken Nikki: Nemureru Mori no Keroleen. Special edition consoles such as the Hello Kitty Dreamcast, Hello Kitty Game Boy Pocket, and Hello Kitty Crystal Edition Xbox have also been released exclusively in Japan. Hello Kitty is a very popular figure all around the world nowadays. It is highly recognisable and is featured everywhere. Its friends and it are a huge part of the toy industry selling many different articles such as clothing, toys, stationary etc.

Examples of Hello Kitty games include:

  • Hello Kitty no Hanabatake (1992, NES) - a platformer
  • Hello Kitty World (1992, Famicom) - a Balloon Fight clone
  • Hello Kitty's Big Fun Piano (1994, PC) - a piano simulation[10]
  • Hello Kitty's Cube Frenzy (1998, Game Boy Color) - a life simulation/minigame collection
  • DDR Hello Kitty (1999, Bemani Pocket) - a handheld Hello Kitty game in the Dance Dance Revolution series
  • The Hello Kitty Simple 1500 series (PlayStation) - a series of specifically low-priced games
  • Hello Kitty: Happy Party Pals (2005, Game Boy Advance) - an action/adventure game
  • Hello Kitty: Roller Rescue (2005, Xbox, GameCube, PlayStation 2) - an action/adventure game
  • Mainichi Suteki! Hello Kitty no Life Kit (2007, Nintendo DS) - a puzzle game
  • The Hello Kitty Simple 2000 series (2007, PlayStation 2) - a series of specifically low-priced games
  • Hello Kitty: Big City Dreams (2008, Nintendo DS) - an adventure game published by Empire Interactive developed by Sanrio Digital. In the game, Hello Kitty moves to the Big City where she meets other Sanrio characters and makes new friends.[11]
  • Hello Kitty Daily (2008, Nintendo DS) - a PDA application featuring a diary, calendar, alarm clock, money managing system and school planner
  • Hello Kitty Online (2009, PC) - an online MMORPG developed by Sanrio Digital and Typhoon Games. The game allows players to create and customize characters, then use them to battle monsters, socialize with one another, mine for ore, do domestic chores like farming or cooking, and participate in quests.
  • Hello Kitty Parachute Paradise (2009, iPhone/iPod Touch) - an iPhone game with tilt-based controls[12]


There is a themed restaurant named Hello Kitty Sweets in Taipei, Taiwan. The restaurant's decor and many of its dishes are visually patterned after the Hello Kitty character.[13][14]

In 2008, a Hello Kitty-themed maternity hospital opened in Yuanlin, Taiwan. Hello Kitty is featured on the receiving blankets, room decor, bed linens, birth certificate covers, and nurses' uniforms. The hospital's owner explained that he hoped that the theming would help ease the stress of childbirth.[15][16]


The Hello Kitty brand rose to greater prominence during the late 1990s. At that time, several celebrities, such as Mariah Carey, had adopted Hello Kitty as a fashion statement.[17] Newer products featuring the character can be found in a large variety of American department stores.

In 2004, a Japanese blogger started a discussion on whether Hello Kitty was modeled after Musti, a cartoon character created by Flemish graphic artist Ray Goossens in 1945[18].

The Dutch artist Dick Bruna, creator of Miffy, has suggested that Hello Kitty is a copy of Miffy, being rendered in a similar style, stating disapprovingly in an interview for the British paper The Daily Telegraph:

'That,' he says darkly, 'is a copy [of Miffy], I think. I don't like that at all. I always think, "No, don't do that. Try to make something that you think of yourself.[19]

In May 2008, Japan named Hello Kitty the ambassador of Japanese tourism in both China and Hong Kong, which are two places where the character is exceptionally popular among children and young women. This marked the first time Japan's tourism ministry had appointed a fictional character to the role.[20]

UNICEF has also awarded Hello Kitty the exclusive title of UNICEF Special Friend of Children.[21][22]

Hello Kitty's popularity has been waning in Japan for over a decade. In 2002, Hello Kitty lost her place as the top-grossing character in Japan in the Character Databank popularity chart and has never recovered. In the most recent survey, she is in third place behind Anpanman and Pokémon.[23]

Cultural references

In 1999, in Hong Kong, a brutal murder known as the Hello Kitty murder took place. The popular name of the case derives from the fact that the murderer inserted his victim's head into a Hello Kitty doll after decapitating her.

As of August 2007, Thai police officers who have committed minor transgressions such as showing up late or parking in the wrong place are forced to wear Hello Kitty armbands for several days as penance.[24]

In an episode of The Simpsons entitled "Thirty Minutes over Tokyo", the Simpson family travels to Japan where Lisa Simpson sees out of the hotel window looking at the Hello Kitty merchandise factory, where the cats are heard screaming as they are being incinerated.

On the episode "Stocks" of the television sitcom NewsRadio, Matthew gives Bill a backpack with Hello Kitty on it when he returns from a trip to Japan.

In the Homestar Runner Halloween cartoon "Most in the Graveyard", The King of Town dresses up as Hello Kitty for Halloween.

The fictional video game Hello Kitty: Island Adventure is referenced in the South Park episode "Make Love, Not Warcraft".

During the financial crisis of 2007–2010, a poster of a Hello Kitty pre-paid debit card expanded to roughly 1 meter in length was displayed on the floor of the US Senate by Senator Byron Dorgan as a demonstration of extreme methods used by credit companies to attract "children 10 to 14 years of age". Though not an actual credit card, it was criticized for its promotional website encouraging users to "shop 'til you drop."[25]

See also

  • Hello Kitty (television series)


  1. "サンリオキャラクターたちの本名、言えますか?" (in Japanese). 2008-07-11. Retrieved 2008-07-11. 
  2. Takagi, Jun (August 21, 2008). "10 Questions for Yuko Yamaguchi". TIME Magazine. Retrieved 2009-10-31. 
  3. Dhamija, Tina (April 1, 2003). "Designing an Icon: Hello Kitty Transcends Generational and Cultural Limits". ToyDirectory. Retrieved 2008-12-28. 
  4. "Hello Kitty celebrates 30". China News Daily. 2005-08-19. Retrieved 2008-12-28. 
  5. Segers, Rien T. (2008). A New Japan for the Twenty-First Century. Routledge. p. 127. ISBN 9780415453110. 
  6. Paschal (2003-05-18). "Sanrio's Hula Kitty heads to the beach". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Retrieved 1998-08-21.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  7. ""Bank of America's "My Expression Banking" page with the Hello Kitty theme". Retrieved 2010-01-21. 
  8. Garcia, Catherine (March 26, 2010). "Please pass the bubbly, Hello Kitty". 
  9. Mayer, Caroline E. (October 3, 2004). "Girls Go From Hello Kitty To Hello Debit Card". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-10-01. 
  10. "Hello Kitty's Big Fun Piano". MobyGames. Retrieved 2008-12-28. 
  11. "Hello Kitty: Big City Dreams". IGN. Retrieved 2008-12-28. 
  12. "Hello Kitty Parachute Paradise". ZIO Interactive. 
  13. Catherine Shu (March 27, 2009). "RESTAURANTS : Hello Kitty Sweets". Retrieved 2009-10-17. 
  14. "Hello Kitty Sweets resto in Taipei (Part I)". April 30, 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-28. 
  15. "Hello baby! Hello Kitty welcomes Taiwan newborns". Reuters. December 5, 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-09. 
  16. "Taiwan hospital a hit with Hello Kitty fans". The Sydney Morning Herald. January 21, 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-06. 
  17. Walker, Esther (21 May 2008). "Top cat: how 'Hello Kitty' conquered the world". London: The Independent. Retrieved 2008-09-19. 
  18. [
  19. Daily Telegraph, 31 July 2008, Dick Bruna, creator of the Miffy books, talks about his life and work
  20. "Hello Kitty named Japan tourism ambassador". MSNBC. May 19, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-01. 
  21. "UNICEF Special Friend of Children". Sanrio. March 23, 2007. Retrieved 2008-10-01. 
  22. "Hello Kitty marks 30th birthday". The Japan Times Online. June 10, 2004. Archived from the original on 2012-06-29. Retrieved 2008-10-01. 
  23. Tabuchi, Hiroko (May 14, 2010). "In Search of Adorable, as Hello Kitty Gets Closer to Goodbye". 
  24. "Thai cops punished by Hello Kitty". BBC News. 2007-08-06. Retrieved 2010-05-04. 
  25. "Credit card reform bill: Bye-bye to Hello Kitty?". Retrieved 2010-05-02. 

External links

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