Christine Yano says she received the confirmation from Sanrio while curating an upcoming exhibit that celebrates the character’s 40th anniversary at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles.
“I’d written a script for the exhibit and that script was looked over by the people in Sanrio,” she explained, “and in that script… I just blithely kind of called her Sanrio’s iconic cat, or something like that. Well that got sent back to me by the company, because indeed they wanted to make the point that she is not a cat.”
Yano has been studying Hello Kitty, the character’s appeal and her vast fan base since 1998. She’s frequented Sanrio’s offices in the U.S. and Japan, and published a book on her research, titled “Pink Globalization: Hello Kitty’s Trek across the Pacific.”