Hello Kitty was around when I was young, but not as popular as Snoopy. I won a little stationery set at a birthday party in the first grade, the late ‘70s, my first exposure. I still have it.
Then the mouthless cat disappeared, not making a big resurgence until the early‘90s. Now Hello Kitty is beyond oversaturated. I don’t regret my 1990 tattoo, obtained right before the boom when few knew the brand (which I often feel the need to point out, as if anyone cares. But it was cool then, I swear!). If anything, I wish it was a little larger because I’ve been wanting to add text to it for years and I’m afraid the words will be too tiny to display well.
Sanrio is also having a dilemma, according to an article in the Times, “In Search of Adorable, as Hello Kitty Gets Closer to Goodbye.” Based on surveys by a research firm called Character Databank (seriously, that was the best part of the entire article. A company devoted to measuring the power of animated characters? I so want to work there) Hello Kitty is at number three behind Pikachu and Anpanman, a pastry filled with red bean paste (I will always prefer Kogepan when it comes to carby characters).
What will the next big Japanese character be? How about Kamono Hashikamo, a platypus who sells melon buns out of a food truck?