Japanese creators of Hello Kitty have confirmed that the character is not a cat. It is something that will confuse many, especially when looking at the characters pointy ears, whiskers and the name “Kitty.”
The issue arose when Christine R. Yano, anthropologist at the University of Hawaii called the character a cat. She was getting ready for the introduction of the character at the Japanese American National Museum. Sanrio stepped forward to correct Yano, stating that Hello Kitty is certainly not a cat.
At least, she was not created to be a cat. She was created as a cartoon girl. Sanrio pointed out that unlike cats, Kitty walks around on two legs and has her own pet. Cats cannot do that. She also never makes any purring or cat noises, with some people wondering whether she ever does actually make a noise.
The news has certainly confused many. Everyone believed that the character was supposed to be a cat when she first appeared on the marketplace in 1974. First of all, she appeared as a bag in Japan and within two years became all the rage in America. She now appears as a stuffed toy, on men’s underwear and even on bowling balls. She has become the thing every little girl wants in some way, shape or form.
In all that time, there has never been any confusion about what or who she is. Many believed that she was a cat and nobody contradicted that. It is now 40 years later and the Japanese creators say that Hello Kitty is definitely not a cat.
The good news is that the animal name was the only thing Sanrio contradicted. At no point did the creators go against the reason for the character becoming so popular. Yano explained that the cartoon character is so popular because she can be anything. There is a “blankness” about her, which appeals to the masses.
Something that Yano did find out while doing her research was that Kitty is also British. There is a full backstory to the character that many people will not know. It is worth understanding that in the 1970s, women in Japan loved Britain so the backstory was created to appeal to them. Part of the backstory also includes a twin sister of Kitty, called Mimmy, and parents called Mary and George.
After hearing that Hello Kitty is not a cat, some have started to question whether other characters are the animals they were depicted as. Peanuts took the chance to get onto Twitter and confirm that its beloved character Snoopy was definitely a dog.
It will be a confusing thought for many. Most have grown up believing that the kitten cartoon is actually supposed to be a cat. However, Sanrio has a point. At no point does she walk on all fours. She is supposed to be like a human and is just depicted as an animal for the sake of the audience. It seems children are more likely to relate to a cat over a person, but Hello Kitty is certainly not a cat according to the Japanese creators.
By Alexandria Ingham