Hello Kitty is actually the nickname for “Kitty White”, a fictional character produced by the Japanese company, Sanrio, originally designed by Yuko Shimizu. Today Yuko Yamaguchi is “head designer” and her interview is nothing short of captivating. Hello Kitty is a character that’s become the focus of the kawaii segment of Japanese popular culture, the craze for cuteness. Hello Kitty is portrayed as a female, white Japanese bobtail cat, with a red bow and no mouth. In fact as Ms Yamaguchi relates in Part 2 of our video story, the first Hello Kitty animated film presented quite a challenge. The character purposely had never been designed with a mouth. Sanrio believed that a person looking at Hello Kitty would more likely project their feelings on to the character who could be happy or sad.
Hello Kitty made her first appearance on a vinyl coin purse in 1974, brought from Japan to the United States, in 1976. Since then the trademark has spread globally with licensing arrangements estimated in the billions annually. Although created originally for the pre-adolescent female market, Hello Kitty products now include purses, stickers, pen sets, toasters, televisions, clothing, massagers, computer equipment, Hello Kitty themed checking accounts, a Fender stratocaster, Visa and Mastercard debit cards, countless video games and a list of other products too long to mention. Now for the more mature Hello Kitty afficianado, a Hello Kitty make-up line is offered at Sephora with a hand mirror sculpted into Hello Kitty’s image, a new line that surely will expand. Sanrio has also created two officially licensed Hello Kitty theme parks and after meeting Yuko Yamaguchi and seeing just a glimpse of some die hard Hello Kitty fans one can’t help but be in awe over Hello Kitty’s worldwide success. Her official character profile?
Full name: Kitty White; Birthday: November 1; Blood type: A; Height: 5 Apples; Weight: 3 Apples; Place of birth: In the suburbs of London, England; Favorite food: Mama’s homemade Apple Pie; Favorite word: “Friendship”; Description: A bright and kind-hearted girl, good at baking cookies and loves Mama’s apple pie. Very close to her twin sister Mimmy.
For more Hello Kitty video please visit www.pacificnetwork.tv. Stay tuned for Part 2, conversations with Yuko Yamaguchi, on Hello Kitty’s first film experience and more.