Chances are, you grew up immersed in everything associated with Hello Kitty. If you’re like most people, you watched the cartoon, read the books and had every piece of merchandise known to mankind, all proudly labeled Hello Kitty. Moreover, there is always that same adorable face that is associated with the title, a face that seems unmistakably feline in nature. Nevertheless, the creator of the character that has been around since the 1970s, Sanrio, recently announced that Hello Kitty is in fact, not a cat. This has some people scratching their heads in confusion and others clutching their Hello Kitty merchandise in utter shambles. Seeing as how both the title and the image seem to very clearly state that Hello Kitty is a cat, the statement that the title character has never been a cat begs the question, what gives?
You know how you have those very few things in life that you’re absolutely sure of, things that seem to be absolutely unshakable? For many people, Hello Kitty has been a throwback to something that was that certain, dating all the way back to their childhood. There is a reason that fully grown adults still collect Hello Kitty merchandise as if it were going out of style. There’s something about that memory that connects back to a childhood where things were simpler, happy memories of times before life got so complicated, that people want to immerse themselves in. Imagine how all of these people are currently feeling since the cartoon’s creator completely pulled the rug right out from under them and changed everything that they thought they knew. According to Sanrio, not only is Hello Kitty not a cat, but the cartoon that was created and so beloved throughout Japan isn’t even Japanese in nature, but British. That’s right, the character’s creator went on record saying that the cartoon is in fact based on a little British girl who lives in a suburb of London. That’s a fantastic sentiment, certainly one to be embraced. The problem is, it’s very different from what people who are now in their 40s and 50s, have grown up with.
A Cultural Institution
Hello Kitty has been a big deal ever since 1974 when her likeness first appeared on a coin purse that was sold in Japan. The idea of the cartoon character took off like a firestorm and in only two years, Hello Kitty was all over the United States as well. Somewhere along the way, people caught the idea that this character is a cat. Who knows, maybe it’s the fact that she looks like a cat or perhaps it has something to do with the name. Either way, it turns out that people have had it wrong all these years. Hello Kitty is, in fact, a human being. Again, her creator, Sanrio, quickly points out that she’s never seen walking on four legs like a cat would, but only on two. Furthermore, she sits like a human being and she goes to school, all things that cats wouldn’t do. Nevertheless, this has blown the minds of a lot of people who considered themselves Hello Kitty experts. Just when people were trying to wrap their heads around the idea of her not being a cat, Sanrio comes forward with the information that she might have been created in Japan, but she is very much British. Again, people are blown away because many of them never saw any indication of anything being overly British. However, it is important to point out that when this character was developed in the mid-1970s, Japan was completely enamored with all things British. Therefore, it sort of makes sense when you really stop and think about it. At least the part about her being British makes sense. The whole thing about Hello Kitty not being a cat is still a bit difficult to wrap one’s head around.
Does Anything Even Make Sense Anymore?
If your head is already hurting from all of this, get ready to have a migraine. While Sanrio is absolutely adamant that this character is not a cat, it is just as quickly pointed out that she might be a cat in the context of the universe created in the cartoon. That’s right, after all of the effort made to correct people and point out that Hello Kitty is, in fact, not a cat, her own creator turns around and says that in the context of the cartoon’s universe, it’s very possible for her to be a cat. In short, they’re saying that she can’t be a real cat (who thought she was a real cat in the first place), but she might actually be a cat in a cartoon universe. On the other hand, she’s also not a cat, but a human being. That basically sums up what Sanrio has said and it couldn’t be any more confusing. It has some people scratching their heads and some simply throwing their hands up in the air and choosing to forget that this conversation ever happened in the first place.
So, what are you supposed to think? If your entire existence is defined by everything you thought you knew about Hello Kitty, you’re probably wondering if the couch you’re sitting on is actually a real couch right now. Otherwise, it seems that you can take what Sanrio says with a grain of salt. Unless you had it in your head that Hello Kitty was a real cat that walks around on all fours and says meow all day long, it doesn’t seem like most people’s perception of the character is that far off in first place. Perhaps there’s a universe out there where cats walk on two legs and go to school, having cats of their own as pets. In the Hello Kitty universe, it’s a daily occurrence, and maybe that’s enough for most people.