The iconic cartoon cat Hello Kitty has turned 40.
The birthday of the Sanrio brand, without doubt Asia’s most popular cartoon character, was marked by the appearance of a human-sized Hello Kitty at the Mitsukoshi department store in Tokyo’s ritzy Ginza district.
Dressed in pink from head to toe, the oversized Kitty turned up at an in-house meeting at the store, to the cheers and bows of employees. She spent a day “managing” the multistory store, much to the amusement of staff and shoppers.
Hello Kitty has no mouth, so she did not speak directly to staff. But she made up for it with animated gestures, waves and miming.
In Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo district, a four day themed fair opened at the weekend, which was expected to attract 25,000 fans.
The first merchandise with Hello Kitty was a coin purse launched in Japan in 1975. Since then she has appeared on more than 50,000 products in 130 countries, including apparel, schoolbooks, packaged foods. There is even a commercial aircraft themed in her likeness inside and out.