The Hello Kitty phenomenon

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The Hello Kitty phenomenon

This time on the blog we are keeping it light and fun and we are sharing a new fascination that we have developed, for certain little lady with a red bow, inspired by a book we recently acquired.

Hello Kitty is a fictional character produced by the Japanese company Sanrio, created by Yuko Shimizu and originally nameless. Shortly after her creation in 1974, the Hello Kitty vinyl coin purse was introduced by Sanrio in March 1975.

Background narrative:

Her real name is Kitty White and she lives with her parents George and Mary White and twin sister Mimi in London. We also know that she has a pet cat and a hamster. Her love for the mum’s apple pie, and the fact that she is said to weight the same amount as three apples, has made her even more lovable. Her appeal is international in scope and she even once instigated a riot at a Singapore McDonald’s when fans clamoured for a promotional toy 

Appeal:

Hello Kitty was originally marketed only towards a child and preteen audience. In the 1990s, the target market for Hello Kitty was broadened to include teens and adults as a retro brand.Marketed to those who could not get Hello Kitty merchandise as children, or who fondly remember items they had, Sanrio began selling Hello Kitty branded products such as purses and laptops. The 1994–1996 Face series was the first to be designed for a more mature appeal. There have been collaborations with many brands on merchandise ranging from guitars,clothing,jewellery trough to passenger jets. In Spring 2005,a partnership  was announced between Simmons Jewelry Co. and Sanrio. An exclusive Jewelry line named “Kimora Lee Simmons for Hello Kitty” was launched, all hand-made, consisting of diamonds, gemstones, semi-precious stones, 18K gold, Sterling silver, enamel and ceramic.

 

Establishments: 

Hello Kitty cafes and restaurants have been opened around the world.In 2008, a Hello Kitty-themed maternity hospital was opened in Yuanlin, Taiwan. In Tokyo there is an entire Theme Park dedicated to her named Puroland. 

Even though in 2014 Hello Kitty celebrated her 40th birthday she is still the ruling princess of Kawaii. Kawaii is a cement in Japanese pop culture. In translation it means cute and describes the adorable features that babies and kids and baby animals have, anything that breeds the felling of love , care and protect. In Japan this has become an all encompassing ideal, the word can be used to describe the atmosphere or perceived qualities of something as well as appearance. Nowadays the word is synonymous with beautiful , lovable, suitable , cool, funny , ugly but endearing.

Sources :

Manami Okazaki and Geoff Johnson (2013).Kawaai Japan’s Culture of Cute. New York, NY : Prestel

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