Hello Kitty is indeed a Cat.
Numerous social media sites were abuzz on Thursday by reports saying that Hello Kitty, the popular Japanese character, was not a cat. The news was not only oversimplification, it’s also not quite true.
The whole Hello-Kitty-is-not-a-cat thing was set off by an L.A. Times article on an upcoming Hello Kitty Exhibit at the Japanese American National Museum. According to Christine R. Yano, an anthropologist at the University of Hawaii who prepared a written text for the exhibit: “I was corrected very firmly. 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,” Yano added.
The news sparked furious debate online among users who argued whether Hello Kitty was indeed feline or not. “Kitty White” ended up being a worldwide trending topic.
But a follow-up report by gaming website Kotaku quoted a spokesman from Sanrio saying that amid all the fuss, the character was, indeed, a cat.
“Hello Kitty was done in the motif of a cat. It’s going too far to say that Hello Kitty is not a cat. Hello Kitty is a personification of a cat,” Kotaku quoted the spokesman for the company.
Brian Ashcraft, who wrote the Kotaku article, added: “The specific word that the Sanrio spokesperson used to describe Hello Kitty was ‘gijinka’, which mean ‘anthropomorphization’ or ‘personification.'”
The author offered up even more evidence through history that Hello Kitty is, well, a kitty.
The Sanrio spokesperson said in an interview that “it would be going too far to say that Hello Kitty was not a cat.”
One cannot remove the cat element from Hello Kitty. And it goes without saying that Hello Kitty is not a house cat like Tom from Tom and Jerry. Well, Mickey Mouse isn’t a mouse like Jerry, either. He can drive a car. Over the years, he’s had various jobs. He even has a pet—a dog named Pluto. But, Mickey Mouse is indeed a mouse, just like Hello Kitty is a cat.
There are literally thousands of years of animal personifications. Certainly, people understand that Mickey Mouse is not a real mouse, just like they understand that Hello Kitty is not real cat. They don’t need to be real. They’re characters. And as their names denote, Mickey is a mouse, and Kitty is, well, a cat. #jnv