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.
Japan’s Gross National Cool - Foreign Policy has an interesting article on the impact of Japanese culture and how it has replaced "Made in Japan" products as the dominant export from Japan. The author points to director Hayao Miyazaki, director/actor Takeshi Kitano, artist Takashi Murakami, and singer/songwriter Namie Amuro, as well as anime in general and Hello Kitty as examples of the global spread of Japanese culture. Do you recognize these people or their work? [more inside]