- Publish Date
- Monday, 1 September 2014, 4:44PM
So, just to confirm, everyone else in the whole world also thought Hello Kitty was a cat right? She's called HELLO KITTY for goodness sake!!
Hello Kitty is NOT a cat. The company behind Japan's global icon of cute insisted despite an uproar from Internet users who spluttered: "But she's got whiskers!"
The adorable little...errr...thing is, infact, human.
"Hello Kitty is a cheerful and happy little girl with a heart of gold," brand owner Sanrio says on its website.
The shocking revelation came to light when a Hawaii-based academic specialising in the epitome of "kawaii" ("cute" in Japanese) asked Sanrio to fact-check captions for an exhibition she was curating to mark the 40th anniversary of Hello Kitty.
Christine Yano, an anthropologist from the University of Hawaii, said she "was corrected - very firmly" by Sanrio that Kitty was not a cat.
"That's one correction Sanrio made for my script for the show," the paper quoted her as saying.
"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."
"It is a 100-percent personified character," a Sanrio spokesman told AFP in Tokyo. "The design takes the motif of a cat, but there is no element of a cat in Hello Kitty's setting."
Her real name is Kitty White, he explained, and she was born in southern England on November 1, 1974. She is a Scorpio and blood type A.
She has a twin sister, Minny White, and lives in an unnamed suburb of London with father George and mother Mary, according to her profile on the web.
Despite her whiskers and pointy ears, just like the rest of her family, Kitty has her own pet - a "real" cat named Charmmy Kitty.
Her life story has always been there, the spokesman said, adding the personification is meant to make her fans feel closer to the character "as a friend".
Asked about the worldwide reaction to the shock revelation that Hello Kitty is not a cat, the Sanrio spokesman offered: "I don't think anyone in Japan found it surprising."
"There is an explanation we have made the whole time, and I think that's how people have understood it."
The Sanrio spokesman explained that Kitty and her family were given no specific nationality but were designed to be living in Britain, because many girls in Japan had strong admiration for the Western lifestyle in the 1970s.