Unless you have been living under the same rock as Patrick Star, everyone in the world has heard of the Japanese phenomenon known as Hello Kitty. She’s the bright ray of sunshine in Japanese pop culture, having brought happiness and smiles since her creation in 1974.
From backpacks, wallets, and stationery, to planes, jewelry, and buildings, there is a slim chance you have not seen her visage around. But who is she? Where does Kitty come from, and is she a cat or are we missing something? Take a journey with us as we discuss 10 unique facts about the world’s most lovable character.
10. She Doesn’t Live In Japan
Surprise! Hello Kitty (real name Kitty White) doesn’t actually live in Japan! Although her creators at Sanrio (a designer of Japanese pop culture icons) is located and based in Japan, Kitty White’s home is actually in the suburbs of London. Who knew? Little miss Kitty currently shares her home with her delightful parents and twin sister, Mimmy. As if she couldn't get any cuter, her bio at Sanrio includes her hobbies as, "traveling, music, reading, eating yummy cookies her sister Mimmy bakes, and best of all making new friends."
9. How Old Is She?
There is no definite answer to how old Kitty is, however we know that her birthday is on the first of November. If you want to get down to brass tacks, she was originally created in 1974, which makes her (at the time of this print 2018) 44 years old! I don't know what she's doing over there in London, but it's working for her. She doesn't look a day over five!
8. She Has A Big Family
As mentioned before, Kitty White lives in London with her family. In the Hello Kitty world, she lives with her father named George White; in which she refers to him endearingly as ‘papa,’ who is the "backbone of the family." Her mother Mary White, more known as ‘mama,’ is famous for her apple pies, and most likely bakes with Kitty's twin sister, Mimmy White. Mimmy looks very much like her sister, with the only difference being her wearing a yellow bow on her right ear.
We are also introduced to her grandparents, Margaret and Anthony White. Grandpa White likes to tell stories of the old days and paints in his spare time, whilst Grandma White’s passions include making delicious pudding and embroidering while sitting in her rocking chair.
7. She Has Cafes All Around The World
From Tokyo to the United States of America, you can find an assortment of Hello Kitty-themed cafes and restaurants that feature our little sweetheart. These range from small pop-up cafes, serving refreshments with Hello Kitty latte-art and food, to cafe trucks that roam the streets selling bits and bobs, such as macaroons, cookies, and exclusive merchandise.
For those who want the ultimate experience, there are ‘grand cafes’ that allow the guest to have full Hello Kitty experience filled with sweets and pink goodness! Sign us up!
6. She Has A Massive Facebook Following
You don’t become this popular without a following, and WHAT a following Hello Kitty has on social media! With a whopping 13.2-million followers as of November 2018, her Facebook posts consist of sharing her events across the world, celebrating holidays, such as the official (well in my eyes) National Candy Day, and showcasing her products across her wide fanbase. With cute posts, pictures, and videos, her fans are sure to find something useful and entertaining through her social media space.
5. She’s On Planes And Trains
You heard me right! Our lovable Sanrio characters are splashed on a few of the Taiwanese airline Eva Air’s fleet of A330-300 and A321-200 aircrafts, ranging from our lovable Hello Kitty to Gudetama: the lazy butt egg. The experience starts from the ticket counter where you are greeted by an assortment of pink-ness all the way through to the flight itself, donned with Sanrio accouterments.
Back in Japan, she can be seen on the shinkansen run bullet train, where you can see Hello Kitty graphics on the exterior, whilst inside the cabin is adorned with excessive amounts of pink and Hello Kitty goodness.
4. She’s Been Used As A Form Of Punishment
Let’s get a bit serious here, and no I'm not talking about THAT kind of punishment. The likeness of Hello Kitty has been used as a form of punishment for the Thai Bangkok Police. Serving as a form of humiliation, officers that have been committed of small indiscretions, such as turning up to work late or parking in the wrong place, may find themselves wearing a pink armband with Hello Kitty adornments stitched to the sleeves.
As a police force should be viewed as law-abiding and straight-edged, the thought of wearing a pink Hello Kitty armband, contrasted by the dark grey police uniform, is meant to make the offending officer “...feel guilt and shame and prevent them from repeating the offense…” Brutal!
3. She Is An Official Ambassador
When famous, why not move into politics? A special accolade to have under her belt, Hello Kitty was appointed the United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s Ambassador of the year in 2017! As part of an International Year of Sustainable Tourism Development, her role was to promote the organization’s “Travel, Enjoy, Respect” campaign which encourages people to travel with open minds and hearts.
If that's not cool enough, Hello Kitty has also been appointed Japan’s official ambassador for their city Osaka, joining her fellow compatriot Pikachu. Most likely to be attributed to Osaka’s bid to host the 2025 World Expo, these two powerhouse characters are sure to represent the best of Japan to the world!
2. She Has A Pet Cat
Yes, in the Hello Kitty world, Kitty White has a cute feline pet named Charmmykitty. The pure ball of fluff is a white Persian cat that was gifted to Kitty White as a present from Papa White.
Having a cute laced lined ribbon on her left ear, she loves shiny trinkets her owner collects and is adorned with her trademark necklace with a key attached to it. It is said that the key opens an ancient jewelry box that was found in the forest and grants luck to whoever wears it. That makes this one lucky kitty!
1. But She Is NOT A Cat!
MIND. BLOWN! Yes, that's right ladies and gentlemen, Hello Kitty’s Kitty White is NOT a cat. While preparing captions for an exhibition at the Japanese American National Museum, Anthropologist Christine R. Yano sent Sanrio her texts for fact-checking and validity. Sanrio replied with a correction (a very firm correction at that), stating, "Hello Kitty is not a cat. She's a cartoon character. She is a little girl. She is a friend. But she is not a cat. She's never depicted on all fours. She walks and sits like a two-legged creature…” I know right? I am shooketh to the core!