| Shoji Ichihara |
After entering the world on November 1, 1974, the iconic character produced by Sanrio Co has been loved by millions of people around the world, regardless of gender and age.
Kitty, whose real name supposedly is Kitty White, is a girl who is five apples tall, weighs three apples and has blood type A.
She lives in the London suburbs with her parents and her twin sister Mimmy, according to Sanrio.
Her favourite food is the apple pies her mother bakes, and she dreams of becoming a pianist or poet in the future.
To celebrate the occasion, “Arigato Everyone! Birthday Celebration” parades are being held at the Sanrio Puroland, an amusement park featuring Sanrio characters in Tokyo.
The 30-minute parades, supposed to be Kitty’s birthday party, feature 49 Sanrio characters and dancers, including Mimmy, her Dad and Mom, and boyfriend Daniel, as well as other representative Sanrio characters such as My Melody and Little Twin Stars (Kiki and Lala).
When I visited the amusement park, many children and their mothers were waiting for the opening of the show around the Chie no Ki stage on the first floor.
One mother, Nao Yoshida, a 36-year-old homemaker from Tokyo, explained why Kitty captivated people so much.
“(She looks) round and gentle, and above all, she’s so cute. She is exactly the type of character that mesmerises girls’ heart,” she said.
Hello Kitty designer Yuko Yamaguchi believes Kitty is a character that will continue to grow.
“Regarding the 40th birthday, my sincere feelings are just that long,” Yamaguchi said in an interview. “Looking around both at home and abroad, many characters have been loved for much longer.”
“There are so many things we haven’t done yet, and we don’t know what to do first. But I’m certain she is a character that will continue to grow,” she added.
As the first step, the company plans to launch a Kitty-themed fashion brand for young men, to be called Hello Kitty Men, by the character’s 45th anniversary in 2019.
The plan was announced in September.
“We’d like to start with such products as T-shirts, jerseys and hoodies, mainly targeting young men in their 20s,” she said.
She also is dreaming of developing Kitty into an entertainer.
“One of my future dreams is to have her perform in NHK’s Red & White Year-end Song Festival,” Yamaguchi said. “I also would like to produce a film featuring Kitty as a lead actress who can sing and dance.”