Hello Kitty a Faux Feline?


Has your childhood has been a lie?

Remember that feeling you felt when you discovered Santa Claus was nothing but a charade of your mother and Amazon.com? Or the Tooth Fairy was just a farce to make you feel better about losing your pearly whites? The World was struck with shock and confusion just last summer when it was discovered that Hello Kitty is not actually a cat.


When you type “Hello Kitty” into Google, one of the most top searched results is, “Hello Kitty not a cat.” It’s been months, but I still hear chatter and read comments of people proclaiming, “Hello Kitty is not a cat!”

I’m here to set the record straight.

So here’s what went down: Hello Kitty turned 40 in 2014 and in honor of this milestone, the Japanese American National Museum and Sanrio organized a special Hello Kitty exhibit. Christine Yano, the curator of this event was corrected by Sanrio when she described Hello Kitty as a cat.

“That’s one correction Sanrio made for my script for the show. Hello Kitty is not a cat. She’s a cartoon character. She is a little girl. She is a friend. But she is not a cat. She’s never depicted on all fours. She walks and sits like a two-legged creature,” Yano reported to LA Times.

So what does this all mean? Is Hello Kitty a little girl dressed up in a costume? But if she is, where is her zipper like Sanrio’s other character, Rilakkuma?

Kotaku decided to get to the bottom of this mystery and contacted Sanrio. According to an interview with Sanrio, they were told that, “Hello Kitty was done in the motif of a cat. It’s going too far to say that Hello Kitty is not a cat. Hello Kitty is a personification of a cat.”

Is a personified cat still a cat? Kotaku asked for clarification, “Then, it would be going too far to say that Hello Kitty was not a cat?”

“Yes, that would be going too far,” Sanrio answered.

Kotaku explains that the exact word Sanrio used to describe Hello Kitty was, “”gijinka'” (擬人化), which means “anthropomorphization” or “personification.”

So keep calm and carry on everyone, Hello Kitty is a cat. A personification is when you give human-like qualities to something inhuman. For example: Mickey Mouse, Arthur Read, the Kool-Aid guy, and the GEICO Gecko. They are all animals–or drinks, that behave as humans but are not. After all, Mickey has a dog named Pluto and Arthur has his puppy, Pal—Hello Kitty also has a pet. She’s a fluffed up looking feline with the same face as Hello Kitty but does not stand upright. It makes as much sense as your Neopets having Pet Pets but does it really matter? Hello Kitty is a kawaii cultural icon. She’s timeless; children and adults alike admire her. We still swoon over her products.

In conclusion: Everyone’s fears can be put to rest because Hello Kitty is indeed a cat.

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