social media

Social craze: it turns out that Hello Kitty… is not a cat?!

Written by elliegrounds

The world came to a standstill this week as an unprecedented bombshell of unfathomable news hit the interwebs.

The world came to a standstill this week as an unprecedented bombshell of unfathomable news hit the interwebs. It pains me to write this article, which I urge you to read after, and only after, adequately preparing yourself for what I’m about to say: Hello Kitty is not a cat.

Take a moment to let that sink in.

In fact, the much-loved worldwide phenomenon who was brought to life by Japanese company Sanrio is not even Japanese. And she has a twin sister.


Okay, let’s just take a breath and start from the beginning.

Hello Kitty, despite the word ‘Kitty’ being 50 percent of her name, is not a cat. She is in fact Kitty White, a British schoolgirl that lives somewhere vaguely outside of London.

According to the Sanrio website, she is as tall as five apples and as heavy as three. You do the math. Her interests include, like all good kitties – sorry, forgot she wasn’t a cat – like all good girls; baking, music and English. She plays the piano with hopes of becoming a pianist, or perhaps a poet, and loves her Mama’s apple pie.

Kitty has a twin sister, Mimmy, who is girly, quiet and shy, which is clearly why we’ve never heard of her. The twins are the best of friends and love each other very much. Okay, if you say so. Mimmy, too, is good at things that girls that look like kitties should be good at – embroidery, patchwork and home economics.

Still following?

If you’re still following along, Hello Kitty’s family tree also extends to her parents, George and Mary, and her grandmother and grandfather, but they’re not really important. What is important is how this devastating news came to be, the answer to which is that someone is curating possibly the most important and culturally relevant museum exhibition of all time.

Christine R. Yano, an anthropologist from the University of Hawaii who has spent years following the global phenomenon that is Hello Kitty and has arguably the coolest job in the world, is curating a retrospective of everything Hello Kitty to celebrate the deceptively adorable (not) feline’s 40th anniversary.

It opens in mid-October at the Japanese American National Museum in LA. Two weeks later, the first ever Hello Kitty Con will be held at LA’s Museum of Contemporary Art. Someone book me a flight to California, stat.

So, in preparing the information to be displayed at the exhibit, Yano (naturally) described Hello Kitty as a cat. This was wrong, she told the LA Times. Very, very wrong.

“I was corrected — very firmly,” she says. “That’s one correction Sanrio made for my script for the show. 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.”

OMG. Cat-ception.

What is Twitter saying?

If your mind is boggling and you’re feeling betrayed by the Kitty you used to know, you’re not alone. Everyone is right there with you – and by ‘right there,’ I mean behind a computer screen probably somewhere several thousand kilometres from you, because when it rains it pours, and when #HelloKitty is revealed as a fraud, you can guarantee it’s going to trend.

So Hello Kitty isn’t a cat. I can get over that. But if you tell me Dog the Bounty Hunter isn’t a dog I’M OUT.

— Grace Helbig (@gracehelbig) August 28, 2014

At least these people were nice enough to clear things up:

What do you think of this week’s social craze? Let us know in the comments below.

Photo: JD Hancock / Flickr