Hello Kitty Turns 40! Check Out How You Can Celebrate It

 

Hello Kitty is turning the Big 4-0, and like most people hitting a milestone birthday, she’s going all out. Celebs and big-name brands are clamoring for special collaborations — everyone from Major League Baseball and celeb chef Roy Choi to cosmetics giant Sephora and Japanese fine jewelry line Mikimoto.

But it’s not just bling and goodies. The Japanese American National Museum is hosting the first-ever Hello Kitty exhibition, titled “Hello! Exploring the Supercute World Of Hello Kitty,” starting October 11. The first-ever Hello Kitty fan convention, Hello Kitty Con, is kicking off on October 30 at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA in Los Angeles. And the Line Hotel, Roy Choi’s newest project, will offer a Sean Knibb-designed Hello Kitty suite, complete with Hello Kitty iHome products, toiletries by Sephora and turn-down chocolates from Dylan’s Candy Bar. Needless to say, it’s gonna be a major, supercute party.

And the woman behind the party — well, other than Kitty herself — is president and COO of Sanrio, Inc., Janet Hsu. It seems Hsu was born to be the boss of Hello Kitty — she and the iconic feline share the same birthday. Here, Hsu shares her Sanrio memories and what it’s like to work at what must truly be the happiest place on earth.

 

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Audrey Magazine: What’s your earliest memory of a Sanrio character?
Janet Hsu: My earliest memory of a Sanrio character was of Little Twin Stars, who continue to be my second favorite Sanrio character(s). I remember receiving a Little Twin Stars product as a gift when I was very young. I loved the celestial theme and that Kiki and Lala are twins (just like Hello Kitty). Since I am a twin, I treasured the idea of the two experiencing the world together.

AM: Your offices must be super cool! What’s it like?
JH: The Sanrio offices are filled with the many kawaii items! There is definitely a lot of eye candy, with products showcased in all different sizes, from a wide range of categories, and from different years and decades. Since so many of our employees are die-hard fans themselves, some may possess an “anything Sanrio” hoarding mentality! The Sanrio offices also showcase a great collection of original artwork.

AM: What’s the best thing about working with Sanrio?
JH: The company’s philosophy, the characters and the people. Sanrio has always been about social communication — connecting people and communities, and the “small gift, big smile” philosophy of bringing joy to all. There is so much energy, passion and love for the brands that there is a very strong, unified company mindset.

 

 

AM: If you could be a Sanrio character, who would it be?
JH: I would be Hangyodon. I think it would be fun to be a sea creature — half-human, half-fish. Also, he is very unique looking, and even though he is not as well-known as some of the others, there is something very familiar and friendly about him. He is also really comedic — so I would like to laugh the most I can every day.

AM: Who’s your favorite Sanrio character?
JH: My favorite Sanrio character is Hello Kitty. Ever since I was a little girl, Hello Kitty would bring a smile to my face. She has grown up with me and continues to evolve, to integrate herself into the modern day and current pop culture, yet always stays true to being about pure happiness. Many adults grew up with Hello Kitty and have formed their own relationship with her. She has a comforting effect, and her Zen-like disposition makes her relationship with every person special and unique.

AM: Do you have a dream collaboration for Hello Kitty?
JH: Experiences that connect with fans are key. We have a fan, a junior high student, who created a rocket with Hello Kitty to send up to space. This was very inspiring. So a dream collaboration could be a space experience with Hello Kitty.

 

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This story was originally published in our Fall 2014 issue. Get your copy here

 

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Top Stories: Why We Love Steven Yeun From “The Walking Dead” & Kimiko Glenn From “Orange is The New Black”

 

 

Here are our Top 5 stories of the month!

 

 

 


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1. Top 5 Reasons We Love Glenn from “The Walking Dead” (READ HERE)

 

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2) Find Out Why We Love Kimiko Glenn, The “Orange is the New Black” Actress Behind Brook Soso (READ HERE)

 

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3)  Ki Hong Lee’s Debut Film “The Maze Runner” Premieres Today (READ HERE)

 

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4) “Sorry to keep you waiting, boys” — Sanrio Launches Hello Kitty Men (READ HERE)

 

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5) “The Real” Host Jeannie Mai Talks Divorce, Plastic Surgery, Fashion and More (READ HERE)

 

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“Sorry to keep you waiting, boys” — Sanrio Launches Hello Kitty Men

 

For years, Sanrio has catered to the female audience. That’s not to say that their products couldn’t be used by and loved by men, but it’s definitely harder to find a Hello Kitty shirt in men’s sizes. Well, Sanrio is looking to change that.

In honor of Hello Kitty’s 40th anniversary, Sanrio launched the Hello Kitty Men Project to encourage men to love their mascot without shame and without stereotypes. The project launched a six-day “Hello Kitty Men” exhibition, which started on September 10th. The exhibit will feature a new shirt line designed by Nendo and graphic designers Mina Tabei and Atsushi Ishiguro. Most exciting of all, the event may have a visit from Yūko Shimizu, the original designer of Hello Kitty.

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Here’s the translation, courtesy of Dramafever:

Thanks for waiting, boys.
And hello to all boys!
I’m Kitty. Up until now, I’ve been loved by a lot of girls.
But it’s always been on my mind.
Not only girls, I want boys to be around me too.
So I’m just going to do it.
Hello Kitty Men Project, a Kitty for boys!
The first part is going to be a t-shirt exhibit, in collaboration with designers.
Cool, right?
I’m going to be coming up with new forms of Kitty.
So stay tuned.
Hello Kitty Men.

Project Start!

 



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Photo courtesy of dramafever.com

Sanrio Releases New Anime About A Strange Egg

When you think of Sanrio, you probably think of Hello Kitty and all the cuteness that comes along with her, but apparently Sanrio is trying something different.

The company is not only comprised of cute kitties, bunnies and puppies. As it turns out, Sanrio has no objection to using food items as characters and in quite an unexpected way. Some of these other, less-known characters can be more accurately described as strange instead of cute. This includes their new egg character Gudetama.

Gudetama is described as “an egg that is dead to the world and completely lacks motivation. No matter what cooking method you use, Gudetama remains unmoved.”

Sound a little boring? Well apparently Sanrio thought this character is interesting enough to dedicate an anime to. The 1-minute animated short aired in Japan a few days ago. According to Anime News Network, “The anime and game segment will run for about one minute, and the character will also appear in five-second news updates at 7:00 a.m. Asa Chan viewers can also participate in the “Gudetama Chance!” game. Viewers can use their remote controls to select the correct Gudetama card on the television screen and earn points.”  The results?

Japan loves Gudetama. Since the character’s creation in 2013, the little egg has become one of Sanrio’s most popular food-based characters.

Check out strange, new short below as well as pictures from the Gudetama twitter account.

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6Eg3C1J8KE

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This Little Twin Stars Cafe Might Be The Cutest Thing Ever

Some of Japan’s cutest characters come from the popular and beloved company, Sanrio, which was founded in 1960. In fact, Sanrio’s most popular face, Hello Kitty, has become one of the most successful marketing brands in the world. Walk into any Sanrio store and you can purchase nearly anything Hello Kitty-inspired. You can get Hello Kitty pencils, bags, toasters, bathroom appliances and even laundry baskets.

So it’s no secret that Sanrio has done incredible work to globally market their main character Hello Kitty, but in Japan itself, you can see even stronger efforts to market some of the other 400 characters in the Sanrio family.

One method is through pop-up cafes. In Japan, a number of restaurants and cafes utilize a theme for their food and products.  These items are limited edition and fans rush into the pop-up cafes to purchase the items before time runs out.

Last year in October, a My Melody pop-up cafe appeared in Tokyo. The adorable and pink products were an instant success. Sanrio is taking over a pop-up cafe once again. This time, the cafe is based on Kiki and Lala who are more commonly referred to as the Little Twin Stars. Kiki and Lala were introduced in 1975 and the angel-like characters have had quite a large fan base.

Now their fans can enjoy pink and blue hamburgers, star-shaped pancakes and even the Little Twin Stars’ faces on top of a cup of coffee. Clearly, it’s all too cute to miss. If you happen to be in Tokyo, be sure to check it out! The Cafe will be themed Little Twin Stars until the end of May. Find out more information below:

Tel: 03-3477-5773
Email: info@the-guest.com
Facebook: THE GUEST

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Our Favorite Hello Kitty Cakes For Her 39th Birthday

You may not know it, but November 1st is quite an important day. Today is the birthday of one of our most beloved characters, Hello Kitty.

Sanrio’s Yuko Shimizu  introduced this iconic, mouthless kitty in 1974. If you do the math, you can conclude that Hello Kitty is 39 years old today! We know what you’re thinking- she aged quite well.

According to Sanrio, Hello Kitty, who’s actual name is Kitty White, was born in London, England. Her height is five apples stacked on top of one another and her weight is three apples put together.

Now, Hello Kitty has become a worldwide phenomenon. By 1999, Hello Kitty appeared on 12,000 products yearly. By 2008, Hello Kitty was responsible for half of Sanrio’s billion dollar revenue. There were over 50,000 different Hello Kitty branded products in more than 60 countries.

Now, Hello Kitty is worth $5 billion a year.

Clearly, this lovable character has achieved an overwhelming amount in 39 years. We wanted to thank her for years of enjoyment and wish her a happy birthday with our favorite Hello Kitty Cakes.

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My Melody Pop-Up Cafe in Toyko

There are a number of Hello Kitty cafes worldwide, but what about the other adorable Sanrio characters? Don’t they deserve some pastries in the shape of their face too?

Apparently Japan shared our sentiments. This time around, a My Melody pop up cafe is available for a limited time in Daikanyama.

My Melody is one of Sanrio’s most popular figures after Hello Kitty herself. The rabbit, who covers her ears with a pink or red hood, was released the same year as Hello Kitty. In 2005, an anime series based on My Melody was aired in Japan and My Melody also stars in a number of video games.

Now, My Melody is featured in a popular limited-time only pop-up cafe in Tokyo. The cafe was originally set to begin on October 10th and end on October 31st, but the popularity of My Melody has forced the cafe to extend this date. If you happen to be in Tokyo, you can catch this cafe until November 5th.

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Image of The Day: The Cutest Hello Kitty Bento Boxes

September has been quite the month for Hello Kitty fans. First, Sanrio brought fruit-flavored Hello Kitty beer to China. Then the Hello Kitty jet made its first flight to the U.S.

In honor of Hello Kitty’s rather eventful month, we decided we ought to show some fan-made Hello Kitty love. So what impressed us?

Hello Kitty bento boxes!

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Common in Japanese cuisine, bento is a single-portion meal that is usually placed in a box container. Traditionally, a lot of time and effort is put into the arrangement and preparation of bento boxes. Clearly, these Hello Kitty bento boxes are no exception.

These impressive bento boxes are quickly going viral on various social media sites and for good reason. Check them out for yourself:

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Hello Kitty Jet Makes First Flight to the U.S.

Story by Taylor Weik.

 

They may have launched a Cartoon Network-themed line of trains back in July, but now Taiwan isn’t the only country who gets to experience cartoon travel firsthand. Taiwan’s EVA Air, known for its popular line of Hello Kitty jets, flew its Boeing 777-300ER Hello Kitty Hand-in-Hand Jet from Taipei to Los Angeles on September 18.

This will be EVA Air’s first long-range flight route and an expansion of the five shorter-range jets that, from its conception in 2005 up until now, had only flown from Taiwan to Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, China and Guam.

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Piloted by EVA Chairman and airline Captain K.W. Chang, who conceived the idea for a Hello Kitty-themed flight line “to make flying fun,” the Hello Kitty Hand-in-Hand jet flew from the Taoyuan International Airport to LAX to celebrate the new jet service with fans and guests. Among those present for the celebration were Sanrio Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Kunihiko Tsuji, Japanese pop star Yoshiki and Head Hello Kitty Designer Yuko Yamaguchi, not to mention the nine cartoon members of the Sanrio Family.

Guests checked in at the Flight Path Museum at LAX, which was decorated with blown-up, pink boarding passes and various pictures of Hello Kitty flying in an airplane, before being escorted outside to a spacious tent where they could glimpse the jet landing on the strip. While waiting for the jet’s arrival, guests were invited to sip on champagne and munch on Hello Kitty-themed treats like red velvet iced cupcakes and browse the displays of all the in-flight items available. Hello Kitty playing cards, pillows and hand creams are just a few of the many items passengers can purchase in the jet’s sky shop. Hello Kitty artists from Tokyo were on hand to draw pictures of Sanrio characters and adorn fingernails with special Hello Kitty nail art, and Sanrio characters Cinnamoroll and Bad Badtz-Maru mingled and took pictures with fans.

 

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The arrival of the Hand-in-Hand jet revealed a colorful paint job, with 19 Sanrio characters splashed across the length of the aircraft holding hands. EVA explained that the union of the critters was designed to “bridge cultural barriers and invite new friendships from around the world.” The airline also pointed out that “this is the first time Sanrio has featured characters with the familiar Hello Kitty that are not typically depicted among her family and friends.”

 

A performance by a troupe of Hello Kitty dancers, the introduction of nine Sanrio characters and the recognition of Chang, Tsuji and the jet’s other pilots were given before the jet’s doors opened to reveal its first passengers –– Hello Kitty and Dear Daniel themselves –– and to invite guests on board to take a full tour of the cabin.

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The 312-seat is split into three cabins: Royal Laurel, Elite and Economy Classes, all of which offer passengers the opportunity to use more than 100 in-flight service items and select meals from its seasonal menus. EVA confirmed the Hand-in-Hand jet will be used on three of 17 weekly flights from LAX to TPE, with flight schedules listed on its website.

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Cute, Tasty and Refreshing: Hello Kitty Fruit-Flavored Beer

Being a big Hello Kitty fan myself, I can say Sanrio has been quite generous to its fans. For instance, if I wanted, I could cover nearly every inch of my house in Hello Kitty merchandise. While I don’t necessarily advise anyone to have an entire Sanrio house, the availability of Hello Kitty products is quite amusing. There are beds, pillows, laundry baskets, hair dryers, soaps, toasters and even Hello Kitty toilet paper.

So what can possibly be next? How about Hello Kitty Fruit-flavored Beer.

Apparently, Hello Kitty doesn’t need a mouth to successfully sell beverages. The beer, which was first introduced in Taiwan, will soon be available in China and comes in various flavors including Passion Fruit, Peach, Banana and Lemon Lime.

The sweet, fruit-flavored beers are the second Hello Kitty alcoholic beverages released. Before this, Hello Kitty wine was licensed in Asia, Europe, and the United States.

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Despite Hello Kitty entering the alcohol market with cute cans and colors, they have stated that they are against under-aged drinking. The product is still marketed towards adults who grew up with Hello Kitty in their childhood.

ABC News reports , “While Hello Kitty beer may seem unusual to some American consumers, in Asia many adults embrace products that are cute or ‘kawaii.’ From Hanky Panky underwear to jewelry at Neiman Marcus, Hello Kitty-wrapped Smart cars to credit cards, the brand has expanded far beyond plush dolls and playthings in recent years to appeal to an aging audience.”

Unfortunately for us, there are no reports of the beer being available outside of Taiwan and China anytime soon.