Unless you're entirely oblivious to pop culture, chances are you've seen the signature cat face of "Hello Kitty." That's why it came as a pretty big surprise when it was revealed that "Hello Kitty" actually is not a cat, but a girl.
The clarification was made to Christine R. Yano, an anthropologist from the University of Hawaii currently curating a Hello Kitty retrospective at the Japanese American National Museum, which opens in in October.
She explains to
The Los Angeles Times
producer Sanrio informed her that "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. She does have a pet cat of her own, however, and it's called Charmmy Kitty."
Also, as it turns out, Hello Kitty is British. Her name is Kitty White, and she is the daughter of George and Mary White.
"She has a twin sister," Yano says. "She's a perpetual third-grader. She lives outside of London. I could go on. A lot of people don't know the story and a lot don't care. But it's interesting because Hello Kitty emerged in the 1970s, when the Japanese and Japanese women were into Britain. They loved the idea of Britain. It represented the quintessential idealized childhood, almost like a white picket fence. So the biography was created exactly for the tastes of that time."