More Than You Ever Wanted To Know About Hello Kitty

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Most of the things I liked as a kid — Wonder Twins, rainbows, dirt bikes — are things my girls couldn’t care about. But that treasure trove of old Hello Kitty trinkets? That, they love. My oldest calls Hello Kitty “Cat Kitty” and I used to make fun of her. But today I learned that Hello Kitty’s real name is actually Kitty White.

Mental Floss has tons of information about Cat Kitty Hello Kitty Kitty White, such as the existence of a Hello Kitty-themed hospital in Taiwan. The bed sheets are printed with Hello Kitty as are the nurses’ uniforms. A proposal in Bangkok a few years ago would have forced police officers to wear bright pink Hello Kitty armbands as punishment for minor infractions. This angered both police officers and Hello Kitty fans.

Sanrio, the Japanese company most famous for Hello Kitty, started in the 1950s as a seller of silk and produce. They wanted to expand their product line to get in on the racket of small gift-giving. These are usually simple objects that can be given for minor occasions. They discovered that adding cute little designs helped sales.

Official products include Hello Kitty thongs, Hello Kitty Wine, and an, um, “Hello Kitty Massage Wand.” Unofficial products include Hello Kitty gas masks, Hello Kitty assault rifles and Hello Kitty bongs.

Some people believe that Hello Kitty was created by a married couple whose only daughter was sick with cancer. They made a pact with the devil that if she recovered, they would create a character in his honor that would be adored worldwide. So um, there’s that. On the other hand, there was this Hong Kong Hello Kitty murder, so maybe there’s truth to this rumor. That case was dubbed the “Hello Kitty murder” by the press because the victim’s head was stuffed into a Hello Kitty doll. Yikes.

(Photo via Romance Fire.)