The top is the bottom! Black is white! Cats are… well, they’re not dogs, but they sure aren’t cats either, apparently.
This year marks the fortieth anniversary of the character Hello Kitty, first created by Sanrio in 1974 and arriving in the United States two years later. To mark the occasion, the world’s first Hello Kitty Con will be held at the Museum of Contemporary Art in the Little Tokyo district of Downtown LA; The Japanese American National Museum will also be hosting a retrospective exhibit in mid-October full of Hello Kitty-themed art and merchandise.
But according to University of Hawaii anthropologist Christine R. Yano, who wrote a book last year about the adorable cartoon creature (Pink Globalization: Hello Kitty’s Trek Across the Pacific), we are all wrong when we talk about Hello Kitty; namely, that she is a cat. She is not. She is a girl.
You read correctly. When Yano was preparing her written texts for the exhibition at the Japanese American National Museum, she says she described Hello Kitty as a cat. “I was corrected – very firmly,” she said. “It’s a correction Sanrio made to my script for the show. Hello Kitty is not a cat. He’s a cartoon character. It’s a little girl. She’s a friend. But it’s not a cat. She is never represented on all fours. She walks and sits like a two-legged creature. However, she has her own cat, and his name is Charmmy Kitty.
Even more bizarre? Despite her synonymous association with modern Japanese pop culture and fashion, she is also British. Her official biography of the character lists her full name as Kitty White, and she lives in London with her parents, George and Martha, as well as her twin sister Mimmy.
Yano explains that when Sanrio first created Kitty in the 1970s, Japanese culture at the time “loved the idea of Britain. He represented idealized childhood par excellence, almost like a white fence. The biography was therefore created exactly for the tastes of the time.
Great, all we know is a lie. Someone better go tell Avril Lavigne that she made a fool of herself even more last year than we all thought.
(Going through Los Angeles Times)
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