Just about everyone recognizes the beloved image of the plump white kitty with the big red bow named Hello Kitty that so often graces the dresses and t-shirts of little girls, but some people believe its creation was the result of a pact with the devil which was made to save a child with cancer.
As the story goes, Hello Kitty was supposedly created by parents who made a pact with the devil that if he would cure their child’s cancer, they’d create a character in the devil’s honor that would be universally adored. For this reason, Christians are urged to stay away from the image – which can found on everything from children’s lunchboxes to party dresses. I’m happy to report that this is an unfounded rumor.
But the rumor mill is a big place and there are other tall tales surrounding this lovable little cat. For instance, some say Hello Kitty was created by the Japanese mascot design house Sanrio to serve as a people-friendly mascot for a controversial nuclear power plant in Japan in the early 70’s with the hopes she would make the public more accepting of the plant. Used in advertisements, on stationary, and other products, she soon became popular in her own right and everyone eventually forgot about the power plant.
This is also untrue but it does contain a kernel of truth – Hello Kitty was created by the Japanese mascot design house known as Sanrio. She was first depicted on a coin purse sitting between a goldfish and a bottle of milk in 1975. A year later, she was in the U.S. Originally aimed at pre-adolescent females, by 2010 Hello Kitty was worth $5 billion a year.
Her fictional backstory is anything but politically correct. Known as Kitty White, she was born in the suburbs of London on November 1 and stands at a height of “five apples” and weighs “three apples.” She is kind-hearted and very close to her twin sister Mimmy. Kitty wears a red bow on her left ear and Mimmy wears a yellow bow on her right ear which is how the two can be distinguished from one another. Kitty loves to bake cookies and to eat her mother’s homemade pie. Her father, supposedly named George, is dependable but a bit absent-minded while her mother loves to cook and do housework. Her Grandpa Anthony likes to tell stories and her Grandma Margaret likes to sew. Kitty also has a pet cat named Charmmy Kitty and a hamster named Sugar.
But, wait, isn’t Kitty a cat herself?
Well, not exactly. Her character is known as a gijinka, which is a personification of a cat. But the company took it a step further last year when it revealed that Kitty White wasn’t a cat but was actually a little English girl. Naturally, this led to reports that Hello Kitty was human and the company was forced to make a few clarifications.
A Sanrio PR representative compared Hello Kitty to another famous anthropomorphism – Mickey Mouse – who is not really a mouse.
“No one would mistake the Disney character for a human–but at the same time he’s not quite a mouse. Just like Hello Kitty isn’t a human, she’s not quite a cat either.”
The good news is that I have been unable to find any association between Hello Kitty and the New Age or the occult, which means this lovable little “cat” can continue to grace our children’s toys and trinkets for as long as she remains popular.