Sunday, September 7, 2014

Hello Kitty is not a Cat! Are you kidding me?

If you haven't hear the big announcement... Hello Kitty is not a cat. She's a girl. A British girl. I don't know about you, but this is just crazy talk.

Christine R. Yano, the author of "Pink Globalization: Hello Kitty's Trek Across the Pacific," told The Los Angeles Times "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," Yano explained. Guess what, my daughter watches Sheriff Cali and "she walks and sits like a two-legged creature" and she is a cat. 
When Hello Kitty first came out it just said Hello
It may shock you even more she is not Asian, she is a British little girl named Kitty White. According to the LA Times in the 70's a Japanese woman were in Britain when the they loved the concept of Hello Kitty being British. 

"Hello Kitty was done in the motif of a cat. It's going too far to say that Hello Kitty is not a cat. Hello Kitty is a personification of a cat." Sanrio spokesperson describe Hello Kitty was "gijinka" (擬人化), which means "anthropomorphization" or "personification." One again, to clarify, I asked the Sanrio spokesperson, "Then, it would be going too far to say that Hello Kitty was not a cat?" The spokesperson replied, "Yes, that would be going too far.

My daughter playing with one of many of her Hello Kitty
doll her auntie loves to buy her
Is this a form of fraud? Maybe. Hello Kitty has been an international success since she was created. I am sure that at some point Sanario realized that it was a common belief that Hello Kitty was, well a kitty cat. Now they tell us she is not a cat. It's like finding out that Santa Claus doesn't exist, only mom and dad didn't wait 40 years to tell me! Internationally I also think this is heart breaking for the Asian culture has has seen her as their own.

LA Times:
"When Hello Kitty arrived in the US in the mid-1970s, it was a commodity mainly in Asian enclaves: Chinatowns, Japantowns, etc.," explains Yano. "In talking to Japanese Americans who grew up in the 1970s, they say, 'That figure means so much to us because she was ours.' It's something they saw as an identity marker. This is why the exhibition is being held at the Japanese American National Museum. It's about reconnecting her to this community. It gives the whole thing a certain poignancy and power."

To be fair to Sanrio when I went to their website to learn more about Hello Kitty's it does say she is a girl. Many things can be lost in translation. according to Kotaku:

The character's official profile never says she is human, and among cat lovers in Japan, it's very common for cats to be referred to as "girl" or "boy," instead of by the Japanese gender markers designated for animals (namely, "osu" or 雄 for "male" animals and "mesu" or 雌 for female animals). The reason for this is that by using terms like "girl" or "boy" for animals, they can personify them through vocabulary and raise them above the status of mere "pet" to a member of the family.

Just the beginning of my daughter's Hello Kitty collection
So, yes I am shocked to learn she is a girl, but is she really a human girl? I love her as a little girl or as a cat. What else do you need to know about Hello Kitty? Her favorite color is red, she is a Scorpio, her hight is around 5 apple pies, weighs about 3 apple pies and you guessed it loves apple pie. She lives outside of London, you know since she is British. She may not be a cat, but she does have a pet cat named Charming Kitty. Click here for her full back storyFor you Hello Kitty fans you can also get your own Hello Kitty e-mail address. So forget about getting an @gmail account it could be! You got to love her!
Upcoming Hello Kitty Events: 

"Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty," 
October 11, 2014 - April 26, 2015
at the Japanese American National Museum
100 N. Central Ave.
Downtown Los Angeles
++ Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for ages 6-17, free for ages 5 and under. 
All admissions based on timed entry. 
Obtaining tickets in advance is strongly encouraged. 
Tickets on sale September 29, 2014

Hello Kitty Con runs for four days starting Oct. 30 
Museum of Contemporary Art
152 N. Central Ave.
Downtown Los Angeles,