- Hello Kitty
Hello Kitty Sanrio character
First appearance 1974 Last appearance present Created by Yuko Shimizu Voiced by (Hello Kitty's Furry Tale Theater)
Information Nickname(s) Hello Kitty Species Japanese bobtail cat Gender Female Nationality British Full name Kitty White
Hello Kitty (ハローキティ Harō Kiti ) (full name Kitty White) is a fictional character produced by the Japanese company Sanrio, first designed by Yuko Shimizu. She is portrayed as a female white Japanese bobtail cat with a red bow. The character's first appearance on an item, a vinyl coin purse, was introduced in Japan in 1974 and brought to the United States in 1976. The character is a staple of the kawaii segment of Japanese popular culture.
The Hello Kitty trademark has spread globally; Sanrio earned over $1 billion annually in sales outside of Japan, as of 2003. Although mainly aimed at the pre-adolescent female market, the Hello Kitty product range goes all the way from purses, stickers and pen sets to toasters, televisions, clothing, massagers, and computer equipment. It has a cult-like following among adults as well, especially in Asia, where Hello Kitty adorns cars, purses, jewelry and many other high-end consumer products. Several Hello Kitty TV series, targeted towards young children, have also been produced. Examples of products depicting the character include dolls, stickers, greeting cards, clothes, accessories, school supplies, dishes and home appliances. Her fame as a recurring Sanrio character has led to the creation of two officially licensed Hello Kitty theme parks, Harmonyland and the indoor Sanrio Puroland.
Character and background
Per official character profiles for Hello Kitty, her real name is Kitty White and she was born in the suburbs of London, England on November 1. Her height is described as five apples and her weight as three apples. She is portrayed as a bright and kind-hearted girl, very close to her twin sister Mimmy. She is good at baking cookies and loves Mama's homemade apple pie. She likes to collect cute things and her favorite subjects in school are English, music and art.
Hello Kitty is portrayed surrounded by a large family who all go by the last name White. Her twin sister Mimmy is described as "shy and very girly," interested in sewing and dreaming of marriage. While Hello Kitty wears a bow on her left ear, Mimmy wears hers on the right. Their Papa, George, is described as dependable, humorous but also absent-minded. Mama, Mary, is portrayed as a good cook who loves doing housework. Grandpa Anthony likes to tell stories and Grandma Margaret likes sewing. Dear Daniel is Hello Kitty's childhood friend. His character profile describes him as born in London on May 3 with the real name Daniel Starr. He travelled with his parents and was away from Hello Kitty for a long time. He is portrayed as fashionable and sensitive, good at dancing and playing the piano, with an interest in photography and dreams of being a celebrity. Charmmy Kitty is Hello Kitty's pet. She is described as docile, obedient and fond of shiny things. Her necklace holds the key to Hello Kitty's jewelry box.
In 1962, Shintaro Tsuji, founder of Sanrio, began selling rubber sandals with flowers painted on them. Tsuji noted the profits gained by adding a cute design to the sandals and hired cartoonists to design cute characters for his merchandise. The company produced a line of character merchandise around gift-giving occasions. Hello Kitty was designed by Yuko Shimizu and was added to the lineup of early Sanrio characters in 1974. The character's first appearance on an item was a vinyl coin purse in Japan. She first appeared in the United States in 1976.
A spokesperson for Sanrio says that Hello Kitty is not normally given a mouth because "without the mouth, it is easier for the person looking at Hello Kitty to project their feelings onto the character" and that "the person can be happy or sad together with Hello Kitty." There has been some suggestion that Hello Kitty has its origins in Maneki Neko, and that the name Hello Kitty itself is a back-translation of Maneki Neko, which means beckoning cat in English.
Hello Kitty can be found on a variety of consumer products ranging from school supplies to fashion accessories. These products range from everyday items to rare collectibles.
As of 2009, Bank of America began offering Hello Kitty-themed checking accounts, where the account holder can get cheques and a Visa debit card with Kitty's face on it. MasterCard debit cards have featured Hello Kitty as a design since 2004.
Sanrio and various corporate partners have released Hello Kitty-branded products, including the Hello Kitty Stratocaster electric guitar (since 2006, with Fender in the US) and even an Airbus A330-200 commercial passenger jet airliner, dubbed the Hello Kitty Jet (2005–2009, with EVA Airways in Taiwan).
2009 marked the collaboration between apparel and accessory brand Stussy and Hello Kitty. Stussy worked with Hello Kitty on collection focusing on the Hello Kitty character with Stussy signature graphics. This collection included T-shirts, keychains, and hoodies.
In Spring 2005, Simmons Jewelry Co. and Sanrio announced a co-branded jewellery licensed partnership. “Kimora Lee Simmons for Hello Kitty” was launched exclusively at Neiman Marcus prices ranging from $300 to $5000 Designed by Kimora Lee Simmons and launched as the initial collection. The jewellrry is all hand-made, consisting of diamonds, gemstones, semi-precious stones, 18K gold, Sterling silver, enamel and ceramic.
In Fall 2008, Simmons Jewelry Co. and Sanrio debuted a collection of fine jewellery and watches named “Hello Kitty® by Simmons Jewelry Co." The collection launched with Zales Corporation to further expand the reach of the brand, and it developed accessories to satisfy every Hello Kitty fan. The designs incorporate colorful gemstones and sterling silver to attract a youthful audience with retail prices starting at $50.
In 2008, a Hello Kitty-themed maternity hospital opened in Yuanlin, Taiwan. Hello Kitty is featured on the receiving blankets, room decor, bed linens, birth certificate covers, and nurses' uniforms. The hospital's owner explained that he hoped that the theme would help ease the stress of childbirth.
Hello Kitty is included as part of the Sanrio livery at the Japanese theme parks Harmonyland and Sanrio Puroland.
There have been several seasons of Hello Kitty (TV series). The first animated television series was Hello Kitty's Furry Tale Theater was 13 episodes long and aired in '87. The next, Hello Kitty and Friends, came out in '93 and was also 13 episodes. Hello Kitty's Paradise came out in 2000 and was 16 episodes. Hello Kitty's Stump Village came out in 2005 and the number of episodes is unknown. The Adventures of Hello Kitty & Friends came out in 2006 and while ongoing, has so far aired 52 episodes, making it the longest yet.
Kitty's friend's series Onegai My Melody has aired more episodes in spite of Hello Kitty being a more well known character.
Hello Kitty has her own branded album, Hello World, featuring Hello Kitty-inspired songs performed by a collection of artists, including Keke Palmer and Cori Yarckin.
Numerous Hello Kitty games have been produced since the release of the first title for NES in 1992; however, the majority of these games were never released outside of Japan. Hello Kitty also has made cameo appearances in games featuring other Sanrio characters, such as the Keroppi game, Kero Kero Keroppi no Bōken Nikki: Nemureru Mori no Keroleen. Special edition consoles such as the Hello Kitty Dreamcast, Hello Kitty Game Boy Pocket, and Hello Kitty Crystal Edition Xbox have also been released exclusively in Japan.
Partial list of Hello Kitty video games
- Hello Kitty no Hanabatake (1992, NES) - a platformer
- Hello Kitty World (1992, Famicom) - a Balloon Kid clone
- Hello Kitty's Big Fun Piano (1994, PC) - a piano simulation
- Hello Kitty's Cube Frenzy (1998, Game Boy Color) - a life simulation/minigame collection
- DDR Hello Kitty (1999, Bemani Pocket) - a handheld Hello Kitty game in the Dance Dance Revolution series
- The Hello Kitty Simple 1500 series (PlayStation) - a series of specifically low-priced games
- Hello Kitty: Happy Party Pals (2005, Game Boy Advance) - an action/adventure game
- Hello Kitty: Roller Rescue (2005, Xbox, GameCube, PlayStation 2) - an action/adventure game
- Mainichi Suteki! Hello Kitty no Life Kit (2007, Nintendo DS) - a puzzle game
- The Hello Kitty Simple 2000 series (2007, PlayStation 2) - a series of specifically low-priced games
- Hello Kitty: Big City Dreams (2008, Nintendo DS) - an adventure game published by Empire Interactive developed by Sanrio Digital. In the game, Hello Kitty moves to the Big City where she meets other Sanrio characters and makes new friends.
- Hello Kitty Daily (2008, Nintendo DS) - a PDA application featuring a diary, calendar, alarm clock, money managing system and school planner
- Hello Kitty Online (2009, PC) - an online MMORPG developed by Sanrio Digital and Typhoon Games. The game allows players to create and customize characters, then use them to battle monsters, socialize with one another, mine for ore, do domestic chores like farming or cooking, and participate in quests.
- Hello Kitty Seasons - A game where your playable character is appointed as Deputy Mayor to help Sanrio Town.
- Hello Kitty Parachute Paradise (2009, iPhone/iPod Touch) - an iPhone game with tilt-based controls
The Hello Kitty brand rose to greater prominence during the late 1990s. At that time, several celebrities, such as Mariah Carey, had adopted Hello Kitty as a fashion statement. Newer products featuring the character can be found in a large variety of American department stores.
The Dutch artist Dick Bruna, creator of Miffy, has suggested that Hello Kitty is a copy of Miffy (in Dutch: Nijntje), being rendered in a similar style, stating disapprovingly in an interview for the British paper The Daily Telegraph:
- 'That,' he says darkly, 'is a copy [of Miffy], I think. I don't like that at all. I always think, "No, don't do that. Try to make something that you think of yourself.
In May 2008, Japan named Hello Kitty the ambassador of Japanese tourism in both China and Hong Kong, which are two places where the character is exceptionally popular among children and young women. This marked the first time Japan's tourism ministry had appointed a fictional character to the role.
Hello Kitty's popularity began waning in Japan before the year 2000. In 2002, Hello Kitty lost her place as the top-grossing character in Japan in the Character Databank popularity chart and has never recovered. In a 2010 survey, she was in third place behind Anpanman and Pikachu from Pokémon.
In 1999, a brutal murder known as the Hello Kitty murder took place in Hong Kong. The popular name of the case derives from the fact that the murderer inserted his victim's head into a Hello Kitty doll after decapitating her.
As of August 2007, Thai police officers who have committed minor transgressions such as showing up late or parking in the wrong place are forced to wear pink Hello Kitty armbands for several days as penance.
During the financial crisis of 2007–2010, a poster of a Hello Kitty pre-paid debit card expanded to roughly 1 meter in length was displayed on the floor of the US Senate by Senator Byron Dorgan as a demonstration of extreme methods used by credit companies to attract "children 10 to 14 years of age". Though not an actual credit card, it was criticized for its promotional website encouraging users to "shop 'til you drop."
For the 50th anniversary of Sanrio, Sanrio and Girl Skateboards collaborated and released skateboards with a Hello Kitty graphic.
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