What do you know about Hello Kitty? Obviously, nothing if you think it’s a cat and even less if you think you’ve heard this story before.

The gist: An ongoing Hello Kitty exhibit at the Japanese American National Museum uncovered this unsettling truth. The exhibition is curated by Christine R. Yano, who was officially contacted by Hello Kitty’s parent company Sanrio to clear up one misconception that she had.


Christine has been referring to Hello Kitty as a “cat”, but Sanrio told her she’s plain wrong. Hello Kitty is a little girl, not a cat. In fact, Hello Kitty has a pet cat, and while it kind of looks like Hello Kitty, it’s obviously a cat with its four legs on the floor. That’s her in the photo at top.

Does someone smell a mistranslation in the air? I think something got lost in translation, and it went viral. It’s a theory, of course, but I think you’ll agree.

See, Sanrio is a Japanese company. English is not their best language, so I bet when someone at Sanrio tried to attempt the translation of “Hello Kitty fits the role of a little girl, not a cat, in her World”, it came out as “Hello Kitty is a little girl, not a cat.” Japanese can be a little vague like that sometimes, so context is everything.

After all, it’s not unprecedented for animal-based characters to play the role of a human in a world with actual animals too. Does the below look familiar?


Goofy and Pluto pioneered this weird idea that animals can walk, talk and and still fit the role of a human. And somehow… other regular non-talking animals exist alongside them.

So the next time someone hits you with “Hello Kitty is not a cat”. Dodge, and hit them back with the truth. Japanese is vague language, and the Internet likes vague because it can then interpret it as ridiculous clickbait. Hello Kitty is as much cat as Goofy is dog (which is a lot, actually). Know more.