As preparations are made for the roll-out of Hello Kitty’s 40th birthday festivities in Los Angeles, the company that makes the beloved mouthless feline wants to set the record straight:
Hello Kitty is not a cat at all, says Sanrio.
She’s a real human little girl who lives outside of London, has a twin sister and a cat of her own and will forever be in third grade.
It’s part of Hello Kitty’s origin story that most of the world never glommed onto as the Japanese character steadily won over hearts and minds across the globe beginning in the early 1970s.
And it’s finally been dug up with the help of anthropologist Christine R. Yano, who’s putting together the Hello Kitty retrospective in Los Angeles to honor the character’s 40th anniversary.
The truth came out as Sanrio edited Yano’s script for the retrospective at the Japanese American National Museum.
‘I was corrected — very firmly,’ Yano told the LA Times. ‘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 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.’
As it turns out, Hello Kitty has an entire backstory created at a time when Japanese women romanticized life in England.
‘She has a twin sister,’ Yano continued.. ‘She’s a perpetual third-grader. She lives outside of London. I could go on.’
Why Sanrio chose to portray the little girl as a cat with no mouth, Yano did not say.
Instead of pondering Hello Kitty imponderables, it may be best to concentrate on the character’s accomplishments.
Besides reaching the ripe age of 40 without so much as a wrinkle, Hello Kitty recently made her first trek to outer space.
A 4-cm (1.6-inch) tall Hello Kitty figure is aboard the Hodoyoshi-3 satellite, looking through a window at Earth, Sanrio announced this week.
The satellite, which is about the size of a large rubbish bin, was developed by Japanese researchers as part of a $40 million program funded by the education and science ministry.
Hello Kitty’s retrospective opens October 11 and will remain on view through April 2015.
The inaugural Hello Kitty Convention will also be held in Los Angeles from October 30 through November 2.