If you ever meet a representative from the Japanese wholesale company Sanrio, remember this — do not refer to Hello Kitty, their signature brand, as a cat. Ever.
It is not a cat. It's a little girl. And she's British, not Japanese.
These stunning revelations (to us, anyway) come via a story in The Los Angeles Times about an upcoming exhibit at the Japanese American National Museum that focuses on the global marketing phenomenon, which turns 40 this year.
When anthropologist Christine R. Yano was preparing texts for that exhibit and referred to Hello Kitty as a cat, she got chastised by officials from Sanrio.
"I was corrected — very firmly. … Hello Kitty is not a cat. She's a cartoon character. She is a little girl. She is a friend. But she is not a cat. She's never depicted on all fours. She walks and sits like a two-legged creature. She does have a pet cat of her own, however, and it's called Charmmy Kitty."
As for her British background, you can read all about the oddly feline little girl whose real name is Kitty White here.
This is like finding out that pro wrestling is fake.