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Hello Kitty I love you!!!
October 15, 2003 3:18 AM   Subscribe

The billion-dollar juggernaut that is Hello Kitty. Tokyo-based journalists Ken Belson and Brian Bremner have published a history of Japanese character-licensing company Sanrio and their most famous character, Hello Kitty. As Japanese "kawaii" (cute) culture continues to invade the world, this looks to be a great guide to the history and impact of Kitty-chan and her minions.
posted by gen (21 comments total)

 
Don't miss the interview with Kitty-chan designer Yuko Yamaguchi as well.
posted by gen at 3:19 AM on October 15, 2003


As Japanese "kawaii" (cute) culture continues to invade the world

.....is it?

Or is it just your own fascination with it?
posted by SpaceCadet at 3:43 AM on October 15, 2003


well, all us 'cool' kids in my school had Hello Kitty stuff - in Sweden. (obviously, a very lame school).
posted by dabitch at 4:05 AM on October 15, 2003


Or is it just your own fascination with it?

Or you just jumping at the chance to get a dig in?
posted by Space Coyote at 4:27 AM on October 15, 2003


.....is it?

Yes, kawaii is taking over the world. In the near future, little girls will have plastic surgery to increase the size of their head. Their eyes will also be enlarged and moved to opposite sides of their head. Their noses removed or reduced to mere dots, and their mouths will be covered with a smooth flap of skin.

Yaaaadaaaaa! (I don't like it)

Cool links, btw. Thanks, gen.
posted by MrBaliHai at 5:36 AM on October 15, 2003


<3
posted by kitty vacant at 5:42 AM on October 15, 2003


Well, I'm 33 and I have a Hello Kitty bathroom. I am somewhat embarassed to say it, but I have a Hello Kitty sticker on my Palm Pilot case too. There's a lot of HK addicts out there... They have quite a large demographic segment that's between 25 and 35. I'd say that's quite a success story. I mean, they're not making HK toasters, waffle irons, and coffee makers for kids, now, are they?
posted by greengrl at 5:58 AM on October 15, 2003


I'm partial to these guys. The upstairs at Kinokuniya is well stocked.
posted by muckster at 6:36 AM on October 15, 2003


There was a store in the Dover Mall called Fluff 'n Stuff when I was a kid that dedicated its entire back third to Hello Kitty stuff. Any time I went to the mall with my parents, I would go directly to the Hello Kitty section of that store and stay there for as long as I possibly could. For some reason, I was never allowed to buy any of it (nor did anyone ever buy any of it for me) (and no, my parents weren't nutty religious or anti-Japanese or anything) which probably explains why I secretly covet greengrl's Hello Kitty bathroom while quietly berating myself for doing so.
posted by jennyb at 6:46 AM on October 15, 2003


they're not making HK toasters, waffle irons, and coffee makers for kids, now, are they?

don't forget these...
posted by crumbly at 7:02 AM on October 15, 2003


I absolutely do not understand the Hello Kitty phenomenon. Like dabitch, I had some HK stuff as a kid in Norway many years ago, and I'm shocked to see that it's not only still around, but actually thriving. I can sort of understand that the kawaii stuff is taking over Japan, but its popularity in the rest of the world is mind-boggling to me. I mean, why?

A friend of mine is unable to order stuff from their website because she has a Spanish credit card mailing address, so I put in an order for her every 6 months or so - shaking my head all the way through. I just don't understand the appeal for this stuff past age 7. But whatever it is, it's working - note those annoying Steve Madden shoes ads everywhere w/the huge heads & eyes and tiny bodies. The whole thing is so strange to me. Are we really that desperate to be children again?
posted by widdershins at 7:42 AM on October 15, 2003


muckster: What about the Sanrio store itself over on 42nd? Whenever I'm in NYC visiting my S.O. we always go in there :) (She dislikes HK, however--she's a huge Badtz-Maru fan instead)
posted by cyrusdogstar at 8:04 AM on October 15, 2003


Know why Hello Kitty doesn't have a mouth? She speaks with her heart.
posted by herc at 8:11 AM on October 15, 2003


One of the high points of my visit to Hong Kong two years ago was the Hello Kitty Superstore. (The other was seeing the new Doraemon feature film, dubbed in Chinese.) But for real kawaii!, you just can't beat Hamtaro.
posted by SealWyf at 8:30 AM on October 15, 2003


I love Hello Kitty purely because it makes people act like idiots. Both fans and detractors.

Asshats amuse me. Thus I love Hello Kitty.
posted by y6y6y6 at 8:38 AM on October 15, 2003


You amuse us too, y6y6y6.
posted by MrBaliHai at 9:32 AM on October 15, 2003


The Hello Kitty massagers were discontinued by the manufacturer. If you can find some to buy snap them up, I'm sure they'll be a collectors item
posted by nyxxxx at 10:44 AM on October 15, 2003


Hello Kitty doesn't do it for me, but Bad-bad Marutz (sp?) and a few of the others do. They're just so kawaii!

That said, I own none of them.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:53 AM on October 15, 2003


HELLO KITTY 40,000: In the grim future of Hello Kitty, there is only war.
posted by NortonDC at 11:52 AM on October 15, 2003


Hello Kitty is great, but don't forget Mimmy and Chococat.

Hey, I'm just catching up to that girl in 4th grade who had Hello Kitty everything. If you'll excuse me, I need to see what the new Sanrio goodies are.
posted by ilsa at 12:41 PM on October 15, 2003


NortonDC, even though I'm not that big an HK fan, I have that poster on my office door. Puzzles the hell out of my cow-orkers...it's in my job description.
posted by MrBaliHai at 4:58 PM on October 15, 2003


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