One of the most popular cartoon characters of all time, Hello Kitty has been an iconic part of pop culture for over than 30 years. But where did this adorable white kitten come from?
Hello Kitty was designed by Japanese artist Yuko Shimizu, who at the time was not trying to create an icon, but was simply doodling! She drew inspiration from Japanese bobtail cats and put her own twist on it, giving the drawing no mouth, and a bright red bow. She first captured the hearts of people all over Japan in 1974, when she appeared on a small coin purse, between a bottle of milk and a goldfish bowl!
Sanrio is the name of Japanese company that began distributing Hello Kitty all over the world in 1976. They’ve also introduced her family, and gave her a background… for instance, did you know that she was born in the suburbs of London, and weighs as much as three apples? :)Sanrio has also featured Hello Kitty in mass produced collectible items like necklaces, folders, pencils and more. In the 1980s, a Hello Kitty craze swept the United States, and anything with her likeness sold like hotcakes – she was even featured on a couple of different cartoon shows and her image graced appliances, dolls and other items. In Japan, Sanrio has opened two Hello Kitty theme parks called Harmonyland and Sanrio Puroland, both of which delight millions of visitors every year!
Hello Kitty is beloved not only for her cute image in colourful backgrounds, but also for her optimism and happy messages – despite her lack of mouth. Sanrio representatives say this particular characteristic helps people project their feelings on the character, and that because she speaks from the heart, she isn’t bound to any language.
These days, Hello Kitty continues to appear on everything from jewellery to laptop sleeves… and of course, many beloved postcards! You can learn more about Hello Kitty’s stunning rise to fame and check her many themed products on the Sanrio website.