Tokyo (AFP) – Hello Kitty is not a cat, the company behind Japan’s global icon of cute insisted Thursday, despite an uproar from Internet users who spluttered: “But she’s got whiskers!”
The moon-faced creation that adorns everything from pencil cases to pyjamas the world over is, in fact, human.
“Hello Kitty is a cheerful and happy little girl with a heart of gold,” brand owner Sanrio says on its website.
The shocking revelation came to light when a Hawaii-based academic specialising in the epitome of “kawaii” (“cute” in Japanese) asked Sanrio to fact-check captions for an exhibition she was curating to mark the 40th anniversary of Hello Kitty
Christine Yano, an anthropologist from the University of Hawaii, told the Los Angeles Times that she “was corrected — very firmly” by Sanrio that Kitty was not a cat.
“That’s one correction Sanrio made for my script for the show,” the paper quoted her as saying.
“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.”