Everyone Is Freaking Out Because Hello Kitty Isn’t A Cat

You know those days when you learn something about the world and suddenly everything shifts to one side and it feels like all your thoughts are just spilling out of your brain like so many useless, wrong facts? That’s how many people are apparently feeling upon learning this week that Hello Kitty, that ubiquitous face that launched a bajillion cute products, is not, in fact, a cat.

Who could issue such a life-changing pronouncement? An anthropologist who’s spent years studying the Sanrio character, Christine R. Yano. As part of her upcoming gig curating “Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty,” opening in OCtober at the Japanese American National Museum, she shed light on a few things about Hello Kitty to the Los Angeles Times and promptly freaked everyone out.

Yano says she was right there with the rest of the world — describing Hello Kitty as a cat in the written information for the exhibit.

“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.”

Here is where we pause for effect.

SO WHAT IS SHE?!? She has funny ears and whiskery things and she sure seems like, well, a kitty cat who might like to purr and hang out on your lap right at the moment you need to get up and do something.

“She’s a cartoon character. She is a little girl. She is a friend. But she is not a cat,” explains Yano. “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.”

Note to cat owners: If Mr. Fuzzybottomsnuggletimes starts carrying a purse and asks for his own pet, something is afoot. It’s only a matter of time, now that everything has changed.

Hello Kitty is not a cat, plus more reveals before her L.A. tour [Los Angeles Times]

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  1. DyinMyelin says:

    I’ve always found the thing freak’in hideous.

  2. billiesimone says:

    Hilarious… Who knew… 😊

  3. Xenotaku says:

    As someone on another forum pointed out, they never say that she’s a human, either. I think the point is that, as they point out, she’s a cartoon character, not something “real” (like a human or a cat). She’s a character, who just happens to be represented by a feline-like appearance.

    • Xenotaku says:

      Rocketnews24 has posted their own article, after asking Sanrio, who got clarification that no, she’s not supposed to be human. The word they use is 擬人化 (gijinka), which literally translates to “personification”, but can also mean “anthropomorphization”. The rep then compared her to Mickey Mouse.

      I think the Mickey Mouse comparison best illustrates what they mean. When you think the words “cat” or “mouse”, you think of the animals, walking around on all four, acting like the animals. But when you think of “Hello Kitty” or “Mickey Mouse”, you think of the character, and while they have the features of the animal, you don’t think of them /as/ the animal.

      RocketNews24 article: http://en.rocketnews24.com/2014/08/28/hello-kitty-isnt-a-cat-we-called-sanrio-to-find-out/

  4. C0Y0TY says:

    In that case, Bugs Bunny is not a rabbit, McGruff is not a dog, and Hobbes is not a tiger. Next you’ll be telling me I’m not a coyote…