There are some things in life one doesn't question.
The sky is blue.
There will be long queues and fights breaking out when McDonald's holds its Hello Kitty promotions. And Hello Kitty is a cat.
Well, brace yourself for some uncomfortable news.
If you hadn't already heard, Sanrio, the makers of Hello Kitty, dropped a bombshell on the world: Hello Kitty is NOT a cat. Yes, the cat's out of the bag... 40 years after its first appearance in Japan.
This shocking news was revealed in a Los Angeles Times interview with anthropologist Christine Yano, who was curating exhibits for the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles.
When she prepared the texts for the exhibits, she had described Hello Kitty as a cat. But Sanrio "firmly" corrected her.
They told Ms Yano: "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." When the LA Times tweeted the article online yesterday, the outrage, shock and horror was felt instantaneously online. It soon became a worldwide trending topic on Twitter.
Even pop star Katy Perry took it upon herself to try and make things right for the world - in caps lock. She tweeted: "IT'S OKAY HELLO KITTY FANS, KITTY PURRY IS A CAT."
Kitty Purry is the singer's pet. That tweet was retweeted almost 8,000 times.
Singer Josh Groban tweeted: "Hello Kitty is a cat. She has whiskers and a cat nose. Girls don't look like this. Stop this nonsense." With this revelation, everything that we loved dearly was suddenly being placed into doubt. One Twitter user said this revelation is "the greatest trick the devil ever pulled".
Others blamed Sanrio for ruining their childhood. Another said dramatically: "In my 22 years of existence, my world was surrounded with lies. How could it possibly be?"
Comic strip Peanuts had to confirm via Twitter: "We can confirm, Snoopy IS a dog."
That's a huge relief because I don't think the world can handle another cat-astrophe right now. So how did Sanrio explain themselves out of this one?
They told Yano: "She's never depicted on all fours. She walks and sits like a two-legged creature." Erm, okay.
Correct me if I am wrong, but I don't recall little girls having cat ears.
And more importantly, they don't have whiskers either.
I can forgive if an animated cat doesn't have a mouth. But why does a little girl, who is supposed to be a friend, not have one? Is she just supposed to be a great listener?
Either way, a mouth-less little girl is creepy.
Of course, Sanrio had a response for this.
Japanese website RocketNews called the public relations department for the Hello Kitty makers and asked them to clarify. Sanrio's reply? "We never said she was a human."
The spokesman said that Hello Kitty is an anthropomorphisation or personification - where you attribute a human personality to something other than a human being.
That made me slightly less confused. But my world remained shaken by the fact that even if Hello Kitty wasn't human, she still isn't a cat.
I am no fan of Hello Kitty by any means.
And I certainly do not hide my disdain for people who go out of their way to get their hands on an innocuous doll. But I definitely understand the outrage.
It's like someone telling you that the sky was never blue in the first place. (By the way, the sky really isn't blue.)
Then, gaming site Kotaku called Sanrio's Tokyo headquarters and asked whether or not Hello Kitty was indeed a cat.
Its spokesman's response: "Hello Kitty was done in the motif of a cat. It's going too far to say that Hello Kitty is not a cat. Hello Kitty is a personification of a cat."
Asked to clarify if it would be going too far to say that Hello Kitty was not a cat, the spokesman said: "Yes, that would be going too far."
So Hello Kitty is a cat after all? Except with a human personality.
So it's all been a case of much ado about nothing?
It's enough to make me yearn for Snoopy, who once said: "Yesterday I was a dog. Today I'm a dog. Tomorrow I'll probably still be a dog. Sigh! There's so little hope for advancement."
DID YOU KNOW?
Our world has been shaken by the revelation that Hello Kitty is not a cat, then is a cat after all.
But we also found out other equally head-scratching facts about the former feline according to Sanrio:
1) Her real name is Kitty White.
2) She made her first appearance on a vinyl coin purse in Japan in 1974.
3) Hello Kitty has her own pet cat, called Charmmy Kitty.
4) If you thought Hello Kitty was Japanese, you thought wrong. She is British and lives in the suburbs of London.
5) Hello Kitty's parents are George and Mary White. She also has a twin sister, Mimmy.
6) Her birthday is on Nov 1 and she is a Scorpio.
7) Her favourite food is her mother's apple pie.
8) Hello Kitty loves to bake and she can make really delicious cookies.
9) Hello Kitty's hobbies include travelling, listening to music, reading and making new friends (no word on how they communicate).
This article was first published on August 29, 2014.
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