You see the cute little whiskered face in almost every major store throughout the country and even across the world. It adorns clothing, lunch boxes, diaries, toothbrushes and bed sheets. It is even the theme for an entire hospital in Taiwan! Hello Kitty has become an international craze that continues to take the world by storm. Kids everywhere immediately recognize the unassuming round face and the familiar red ribbon that adorns this cute little cartoon cat.
What is the history of this little cat, and how did Hello Kitty toys become so popular throughout the world? Here is everything you could possibly want to know about Hello Kitty and her rise to fame.
Hello Kitty originated in Japan during the 1960’s when a Japanese company called Sanrio developed her character (which is actually known as Kitty White). Previous to selling Hello Kitty products, Sanrio primarily sold small items like pencil cases and other items for elementary-aged children. Once they developed the Hello Kitty character, their sales began to increase.
Rumors Abound Regarding Hello Kitty’s Origins
There are a couple of untrue legends circulating about how Hello Kitty actually originated. One story claims that the cute kitty was developed in an attempt to soften the corporate image of a nuclear power plant. Another story involves a fantastic claim that involves a truce with the devil to create a cute image in his honor in exchange for the healing of a young girl with cancer. Both stories are obviously false and the character was not created in any sinister way.
Hello Kitty was made without a mouth intentionally, because the lack of emotion made it more likely for people of all backgrounds to relate to her. Because she does not seem to portray any emotions, the individual who views her can project their own emotions onto her at any time. It is this strange characteristic that may be part of the reason for her impressive international success.
Hello Kitty Almost Became a Punishment
Back in 2007, the idea was briefly entertained to force police in Bangkok to wear flashy Hello Kitty armbands if they committed minor infractions. This plan was quickly abandoned as it created outrage among both Hello Kitty fans and the Bangkok police ranks.
A Character That Kids and Adults Enjoy
While originally intended for children, Hello Kitty now adorns adult clothing and novelty items as well. Today you can buy Hello Kitty toys, Hello Kitty jewelry marketed to wealthy women, and Hello Kitty themed make up. While it may not be perfectly clear why this cute little emotionless character became so popular, it is clear that she is a character that is able to break through typical cultural, gender and age boundaries.