If you love Hello Kitty come and take a look at our display in the Library, on show until 15 November. Sonya has kindly brought in some items from her comprehensive collection. Sonya has been collecting the sweet Japanese merchandise since 2000. She tells me that “Hello Kitty was created in 1974 and is a white, bobtail cat with no mouth! The Japanese describe her as Kawaii (which means cute!).”
Sonya is a keen traveller and while jet setting around the globe she has added to her collection and immersed herself in the world of her favourite character. “Hello Kitty has stores (Sanrio) all over the world and I have visited them in Tokyo, San Diego, Honolulu, Los Angeles and Orlando. I have also visited Sanrio Puroland in Tokyo which is a theme park based on Hello Kitty and her friends. ”
So what is her favourite Hello Kitty piece? She has several of course but Sonya loves to wear her cosy Kitty slippers.
Hello Kitty truly is a modern cultural icon. In 2008 Japan named Hello Kitty the ambassador of Japanese tourism in both China and Hong Kong, where she is incredibly popular with children and young women. UNICEF has also awarded Hello Kitty the exclusive title of UNICEF Special Friend of Children.
You can read some strange and macabre stories about her online but they are not true. Hello Kitty was created by the Japanese Sanrio company in 1974 who manufactured stationery for children. When they first put her picture on a coin purse under the word ‘Hello’, sales were phenomenal.
Hello Kitty leads an active life. Several different animated television series, a webcomic, video games and songs, a Scottish tartan and a sculpture exhibition have been created in honour of her. Sanrio has also stated that Hello Kitty is in fact not a cat, but a cartoon character who is a little girl. She lives in London, attends school and has a twin sister.
There is even a Hello Kitty themed hospital in Taiwan and an airliner decorated on the fuselage and inside the cabin with her image. Like our own Anstey the Echidna, Hello Kitty has even ventured into space. A 1.6-inch tall Hello Kitty travelled about on the Hodoyoshi-3 satellite in 2014.