On the occasion of Hello Kitty’s 40th anniversary, Sanrio surprised everyone when they revealed that the beloved character isn’t in fact a cat.
Apparently, Hello Kitty’s bipedal behavior, her lifestyle in London, and the fact that she owns a pet cat all point to the fact that she is an anthropomorphic anime character with a “cat motif” and not an actual feline.
As both Japanese and international media outlets puzzle over the revelation, Sanrio asserts that no one in Japan should be surprised because they’ve always explained Hello Kitty this way. However, 2ch.net users seem just as confused as their Western counterparts.
From AFP BB News:
”Hello Kitty Isn’t a Cat”: Sanrio’s Comment Causes Uproar Online
The internationally popular Japanese character Hello Kitty wasn’t a cat! On August 28, Sanrio made this shocking comment about Hello Kitty, who has been portrayed on many products around the world, from stationary to pajamas. Objections to the statement, such as, “But Hello Kitty has cat whiskers, doesn’t she?!” have been flooding the internet.
Even on the Sanrio website, it introduces Hello Kitty as a “bright, kind girl.”
According to what Christine Yano, an anthropologist whose research at the University of Hawaii focuses on the theme of Japanese “cuteness,” wrote in the Los Angeles Times, when on the occasion of the commemorative event for Hello Kitty’s 40th anniversary she asked Sanrio to confirm that Hello Kitty is a cat, she was decisively corrected that “Hello Kitty is not a cat.”
In the same article, Yano included Sanrio’s explanation that “Hello Kitty is not a cat, she’s an anime character. She is a small girl, and she has friends, but she’s not a cat. We have never once drawn her on all fours. She sits and walks just like a bipedal animal.”
■ Hello Kitty Lives in England
AFP also decided to ask Sanrio whether Hello Kitty, one of Japan’s most famous exported goods, is really a cat or not.
Sanrio’s answer was that “There’s no question about it that there’s a cat motif, but she’s 100% anthropomorphized. There are no cat-like elements in the setting.”
According to Sanrio’s PR manager, Hello Kitty’s real name is “Kitty White”. She was born on November 1, 1974, her zodiac sign is Scorpio, and her blood type is type A. And according to an internet profile, she lives in a London suburb with her dad George, her mom Mary, and her twin sister Mimi. She also has a “real” cat, Charmy Kitty, as a pet.
The nationality of Hello Kitty and her family hasn’t been established, but it seems that the setting of them living in England was decided due to the strong attraction young Japanese girls in the 1970s had to a Western lifestyle. The Sanrio PR Manager also said that she was designed to be anthropomorphic so that her fans could feel close to Hello Kitty as a kindred spirit.
While the announcement that Hello Kitty is not a cat has been met with shock around the world, Sanrio seems to expect that there won’t be anyone surprised by the information in Japan: “We’ve always explained it this way, so we think people have understood that.”
However, when we conducted a survey among the Japanese staff at the AFP Tokyo branch office, those who said they thought Hello Kitty was a cat were in the majority. (c)AFP/Harumi OZAWA
Comments from 2ch.net:
They tricked ussssssssssssssssssssssssssss
It’s a lie!
So was she wearing a cat on her head?!
Is this why she can’t beat Mickey Mouse?
If you look at her, you can kind of understand it. Is there really a cat like that?
A hairy young girl with cat ears?
Was she a monster?
What the hell, she’s not a cat even though she’s a “kitty”?
Don’t just say she’s an anime character!
So that’s why we’re talking about this, I see I see… Can they do this?!
It’s because Hello Kitty has a cat as a pet, right?
If she’s not a cat, then is she a demon catgirl?
The fact that they’re saying incoherent stuff like that is why they’re losing to Rilakkuma
So of course she’s not too close with Mickey then?
They’re saying this in consideration of all those assholes who forbid idolatry! What a bunch of awful money-grubbers!
By the same logic, Moomin isn’t a hippo.
This seems just like the difference between Goofy and Pluto, I think. Pluto is a dog.
So then Keroppi certainly isn’t a frog, either?
A banana is not a snack.