The creators of one of the world's most widely-recognised cartoon characters have set the record straight. Japanese toymaker Sanrio have declared that its iconic creation Hello Kitty is not a cat. The bombshell came to light following publicity for an upcoming exhibition on the character at the Japanese American National Museum. The curator of the exhibition, anthropologist Christine R Yano, said she received a mail from Sanrio correcting her script for the show. Ms Yano confirmed that: "Hello Kitty is not a cat. She is a little girl. She is a friend….She's never depicted on all fours. She walks and sits like a two-legged creature." The Sanrio website states Kitty is "a bright little girl with a heart of gold."
Hello Kitty has taken the world by storm since its introduction in 1974. It has become ubiquitous worldwide, adorning everything from chopsticks to airplanes. The Japanese carmaker Daihatsu even sold a specially branded Hello Kitty car. It had Kitty-emblazoned upholstery, a speedometer with the character's face etched into the glass and a Kitty-shaped gear stick. The creators designed the character's face to epitomise cuteness. Sanrio account for her lack of a mouth, saying she doesn't have one because she speaks with her heart. Social media has been abuzz with the revelation that Kitty is a girl. Rapper Mike Shinoda tweeted: "This is worse than finding out Pluto is not a planet."