Stop everything right now. Hello Kitty is not a cat. She’s a girl called Kitty White. Confused? We are too.
The revelation comes from Sanrio, the creators of the international toy, who contacted University of Hawaii anthropologist Christine R. Yano who was putting together a 40th anniversary retrospective of Hello Kitty in Los Angeles.
Professor Yano, speaking to the LA Times, said: “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."
According to the official Hello Kitty homepage, Kitty White was born in London on 1 November, and is ‘a cheerful and happy little girl with a heart of gold.’
She was born in England, Yano says, because of the culture during the 1970s: "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."
Since her creation in 1974, Hello Kitty has become a global figure worth an estimated $7 billion to Sanrio.
It's not the first time there have been doubts raised about who, or what exactly, a cartoon character is. In the 1990s there was discussion surrounding Goofy.
As much of the internet predictably exploded in shock at the news Kitty was not a cat, there was some good news as Peanuts confirmed that Snoopy, the world’s favourite dog, is thankfully a dog.
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