Hello Kitty, A TRUE Jetsetter!

26 Apr

In 1974, the Japanese company Sanrio, in tandem with designer Ikuko Shimizu, created the next kawaii (“cute”) character in their growing collection: a lovable white kitten with a red bow and blue overalls named Hello Kitty. The character was created primarily for a pre-teen female audience, but over the years, people of all ages and backgrounds, throughout the world, have grown to love Hello Kitty.

The original Hello Kitty (at left)

A modern-day raver girl donning Hello Kitty at a party. Not exactly Sanrio’s first thought for a Hello Kitty fan, but a celebration of the character all the same. (Above)

Since her debut, Sanrio has established Hello Kitty as a true icon, creating countless fashion looks for Hello Kitty that suit girls (and possibly boys!) of all ages and interests, including the “goth” culture that would normally shun the adorable character.

Gothic Hello Kitty (at left)

Though the goth and punk Hello Kitty looks have only been created by Sanrio to expand Hello Kitty’s consumer base, certain Christian groups have accused Hello Kitty of being sacrilegious and even Satanic. Certain hate-cults have adopted Hello Kitty as a logo to represent their group (for reasons unknown–sickos!), and thus, Sanrio has been accused of creating a Satanic “idol” with the cartoon character.

A man with Hello Kitty tattooed on his forehead, a supposed member of the Hello Kitty hate-cult. (Above)

A “Satanic” Hello Kitty doll (not created by Sanrio) used as “proof” in anti-Hello Kitty propaganda. (Above)

In 1999, a group of three Japanese men allegedly kidnapped, tortured, and dismembered a female nightclub owner, and stuffed her severed head inside a large Hello Kitty doll. Since this incident, parents have been warned that Sanrio is trying to spread blasphemy through the Hello Kitty franchise, and that children will worship the character and even sacrifice family pets to the dolls!

The fact that Hello Kitty does not have a mouth has also caused controversy, and critics call the cat “disfigured” and say she will be “condemned to Hell”. An urban legend has also circulated that a cartoonist and mother of a child with mouth cancer asked Satan to heal her daughter, and in return, she would create a character representing him that would be adored throughout the world, and thus the kitten  does not have a mouth, representing what would have been taken away from her daughter if Satan had not saved her. Sanrio posted a statement saying that Hello Kitty’s absence of a mouth represents her being an “ambassador to all”; she does not speak one certain language, therefore she can relate to everyone internationally. Japan’s Razor TV did a special on the controversy, and asked hardcore Hello Kitty fans their opinion on the issue. (Below)

Okay, though some of the responses may be ditzy and uninformitive, none of these young ladies exactly scream “Satan’s Wench Material”.

Hello Kitty may not be Satanic, but Sanrio has also been faced with some criticism about the sexual innuendos of some products. For example, in 1997, they gave license to a company called Genyo Co. who then released a “shoulder massager” that was actually being sold as a sex toy. Sanrio released a statement saying they were disgusted by this and demanded that Genyo Co. stop selling the popular product. However, considering Sanrio was so “disgusted” by the Hello Kitty “vibrator”, the public was surprised to learn that the company has recently begun selling the product again, now available in 4 different colors rather than the vintage pink-only model. Hey, sex sells, right?

The new Hello Kitty “shoulder massagers”. (Above)

The shoulder massagers may have caused some uproar, but Sanrio seemed to have no problem with racy underwear products with Hello Kitty’s face plastered on them. But Hello Kitty is an ambassador to all. Why shouldn’t grown men and women (and their respective sexual parters) enjoy a little Hello Kitty with their foreplay?

These Hello Kitty boxers certainly aren’t meant to entertain preteen girls, are they? (Above)

Despite the controversy and sexality, plenty of people, including celebrities, innocently love the cute little kitten and even incorporate her image into their red-carpet fashion.

Lady Gaga in another wacky photo shoot with a one-of-a-kind dress crafted from Hello Kitty dolls! (Above)

Heroes star Hayden Panettiere sports a cute Hello Kitty suit on the beach! (Above)

Katy Perry wears a sparkly Hello Kitty adorned mini-dress on the red-carpet at the Brit Awards. (Above)

Heiress and socialite Paris Hilton boasts a luxe Hello Kitty fashion bag at a Sanrio event. (Above)

Transformers star Megan Fox shows her love for Hello Kitty with a huggable doll and matching necklace. (Above)

Hello Kitty isn’t just for little girls anymore! Several companies for teenagers and even grown women have hopped on the Hello Kitty bandwagon and now offer fashionable-yet-oh-so-cute Hello Kitty products, causing Sanrio’s franchise to grow even more!

Some of the limited-edition products offered by M.A.C. makeup company featuring Hello Kitty! (Above)

Hello Kitty nailpolishes offered by M.A.C.’s rival makeup company, Sephora. Do I smell competition? As Hello Kitty would say, “Me-ow!” (Above)

Leading guitar company Fender offers a cutesy pink Hello Kitty electric guitar with a matching amp for girly rockers everywhere. (Above)

Wake up with Hello Kitty! Target sells a Hello Kitty toaster that burns the kitten’s face right into your toast! (Above)

From iPhone to M.A.C. to adult products to Toon Kids, Hello Kitty has made a lasting impression on the world, and our love for her keeps growing. A celebrity all her own, Hello Kitty warms the hearts (and for some, bread!) of girls, women, and even men all over the world, and the only proper word for her would be a global jetsetter. More versatile than polyester, Sanrio’s most adored character offers something for anyone, be it a pink-loving six-year-old or a sinister goth 20-something looking for some sexy clothes in which to get her “freak on”. She may be turning 38 this November, but this kitten is as fresh as ever throughout the world! Thank God (or Satan, whatever you want) for Hello Kitty!

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2 Responses to “Hello Kitty, A TRUE Jetsetter!”

  1. lgsproffery May 14, 2011 at 12:51 AM #

    1. Try to put captions in the photos
    2. I’m only concerned about the last paragraph sounding like ad copy. The research and scope is terrific — use that space to speculate why Hello Kitty has taken on and what effect it has on our global culture to have such an internationally recognizable icon.

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