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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."

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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."



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