Hello Kitty, a cartoon character, has been applied to children's pens, stationery, coin purses, and other “fancy goods” by the Japanese-owned Sanrio Corporation since 1974. The popularity of this pure-white cartoon cat has risen along with the growth of kawaii (feelings of protectiveness toward the cute) culture among girls and women worldwide and has generated enormous profits for the company. Kawaii involves females resisting traditional adult roles by engaging in childlike handwriting, reading manga, and watching entertainment aimed at small children. This cultural strain is variously interpreted as antifeminist or symptomatic of a postponement of adulthood by “kidults,” both male and female. More recent interest in the figure is often ironic.

Mainstream film and television producers lacked interest in Hello Kitty and other ...

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