Is Hello Kitty Japanese? Or British?

Everybody who is really, really into Hello Kitty knows her name is Kitty White. Ditto for this: according to her official Sanrio biography, she was born in London, making her British by default, no? So what's the big deal?

Yet, pretty much everyone in Japan thinks Kitty-chan is Japanese — with only diehard Hello Kitty nerds all the wiser.

According to an Atlantic piece by Tokyo Vice writer Jake Adelstein, Tatsuya Nakajima, a leader of the right-wing group Junshinkai, was ticked off by the assumption that Hello Kitty was not Japanese, saying, "That's the kind of stuff the Chinese say when they pirate our national treasures and goods. It's outrageous. And unforgivable."

Of course, designer Yuko Shimizu created Hello Kitty in Japan in the early 1970s — though, there's been dispute that it rips off Miffy.

In 2008, the cat was even named Japan's "Official Tourism Ambassador". However, Hello Kitty's official profile contended that the character lived in London with her family. So... shouldn't she be a tourism ambassador for the U.K.?

In Adelstein's tongue-in-cheek piece, he and co-writer Nathalie-Kyoto Stucky note that a recent book Hello Kitty's Guide to Japan, complicates questions of the cartoon cat's nationality further as it underscores the feline as Japanese — not British. From the piece:

According to their story, Hello Kitty is introducing Japan to her American boyfriend Dear Daniel. When he arrives, he discovers Kitty living in a tatami-mat laden house. Her entire family lives in Japan and they all can read Japanese and speak the language fluently. Kitty is so knowledgeable about Japanese culture and traditions that the reader can only surmise she is either Japanese or an amazingly bilingual Japanese studies scholar.

Maybe the cat is a dual citizen? There, argument settled. Phew!

Kitten-Sized Controversy: Is Hello Kitty from London or Japan? [The Atlantic Wire]

Top photo: Koji Sasahara/AP




    Maybe that will calm the storm for a while...

    Everyone on this blog is now dumber for reading this article


    It drags down the whole overall standard of the site, is it in the aussie guys contracts that they have to repost Ashcrafts perverted/bafflingly irrelevant/often just plain weird/occasionally insightful articles?

    oh for the love of god. . .


    I am getting really sick of the borderline elitist attitudes of some of the commentators on this website.

      Oh no! A consumer raising a complaint with a product he consumes! Better call him an elitist. Get over yourself mate, I'm just as entitled to complain about a crappy product as any other consumers. Hopefully if enough people complain they will finally fire this lecherous excuse of a journalist.

      A monkey could do Bashcraft's job.

        Get over YOURself, kid. I guess if YOU have an issue with Ashcraft's articles then EVERYONE must, right? I'm now dumber for reading your bitter, sad excuse of a comment. Hopefully enough people will complain and they'll start keeping idiots like you off this site.

        Hell, the only reason people complain about Ashcraft's articles is because, well, they like having something to complain about. Who doesn't like to have a moan once in a while? I could understand it if you were forced to constantly read them like it was your job or something, but no, you peruse Kotaku for free. You see an Ashcraft article, and instead of NOT reading it, you think to yourself "here's a chance for me to get my ire up and jump on my high horse and stroke my complain-o-muscle". It's a vaguely interesting piece kind of somewhat tangentially related to the gaming culture (if you stretch it far enough) written on a website that's about games and geek culture. It's not goatse hung up in the Louvre. Complain about things worth complaining about, and next time, just don't click on an article when you see "Brian Ashcraft" written next to it?

        I'm fine with people having an issue with some of Ashcraft's articles, what i'm getting agitated at is when I see an article writen by the man i need to accept the fact that someone is going to write in the comments how much they hate the guy and wish for him to be fired/demoted/killed/whatever. I understand the quality of work from Mark, Tracey and Logan, but I've also noticed that this has made people see the other writers from outside of Australia with nothing more than absolute contempt, aka you.

        My issue is not that you have a problem, as you said yourself people complain maybe they'll fire him, the problem is:


        Nothing will happen if you continue to bitch at us about how much you think Bashcraft sucks, I highly doubt anyone from KotakUS even reads any of the comments that appear on this site, you want to complain go complain to KotakUS directly, on their site, maybe you might get somewhere.

        But before you do let me rewrite something I have said multiple times whenever someone questions a Bashcraft article:

        The name Kotaku basically references the term 'Otaku' which according to Wikipedia: is a Japanese term used to refer to people with obsessive interests, particularly anime, manga or video games. However, it can relate to a fan of any particular theme, topic, hobby or any form of entertainment. This includes Hello Kitty which is a integral part of Japanese Culture.

        So in parting, just because you may not like something, does not mean it does not belong here

    Dick Bruna invented Hello Kitty. Sanrio forged it.

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