When did the fictional character, 'Hello Kitty' come to the United States?
Hello Kitty, also known by her full name Kitty White, is a fictional character produced by the Japanese company Sanrio, created by Yuko Shimizu and currently designed by Yuko Yamaguchi.
Sanrio depicts Hello Kitty as a female Japanese Bobtail with a red bow and, notably, no mouth. According to her backstory, she is a perpetual 3rd-grade student who lives outside London.
Since the cartoon character's creation, Hello Kitty has become a media franchise including a product line, clothing apparel, toy-line, manga comics, anime series, popular music, and other media.
Shortly after her creation in 1974, the Hello Kitty vinyl coin purse was introduced by Sanrio in March 1975. Sanrio brought the character to the United States in 1976.
Hello Kitty is a staple of the kawaii segment of Japanese popular culture. By 2010, Sanrio had groomed Hello Kitty into a global marketing phenomenon, worth $6 billion a year.
By 2014, when Hello Kitty was 40 years old, she was worth about $8 billion a year. As of 2019, Hello Kitty is the second highest-grossing franchise of all time (behind Pokémon), having generated $80 billion in lifetime retail sales.
First aimed at pre-teenage females, Hello Kitty's market included adolescent and adult consumers. A variety of products ranging from school supplies to fashion accessories feature this character. Several Hello Kitty TV series, targeted towards children, have been produced, as well as several manga comics and anime films.