Did you know that Hello Kitty’s been around since 1974? This means she’s turning 35 this year! The kawaii kitty was one of Sanrio‘s first characters. She lives in London, England, with her parents and twin sister Mimmy and weighs the same as three apples. Hello Kitty haters (like the guy behind Hello Kitty Hell) think it’s weird she doesn’t have a mouth but Sanrio says it’s because “Hello Kitty speaks from her heart. She’s Sanrio’s ambassador to the world and isn’t bound to any particular language.”
The Strawberry King was born in 1975. A strawberry-headed, peace-loving king, he spends his days thinking of ways to spread friendship and happiness throughout his Strawberry Kingdom. Apparently this character is an alter-ego for the CEO and founder of Sanrio, Shintaro Tsuji!
My Melody is a little bunny (she has a mouth but it’s a recent addition, added in the 1980s!) who lives in the forest of Mari Land. Her favourite food is almond pound cake and her brother is called Rhythm.
Patty and Jimmy appeared in 1974. These blond-haired schoolkids live in Kansas City, USA, and are BFFs. Patty loves sports like surfing, rollerskating and baseball, while Jimmy prefers studying, playing chess and playing card games. He isn’t good at sports.
Some of the earliest characters were Bunny & Matty (1973) and Spunky Burro (1974). According to Sanrio, Spunky is a hard-working and popular (yet a little naive) donkey who lives on a farm. Bunny and Matty were apparently called Bunny and Ratty at first.
The source of all this Sanrio history is Sanrio Days (Sweet Design Memories), a 2008 book I was very excited to pick up at Village Vanguard in Osaka last year! It includes millions of cute character pix from the 1970s and 1980s (Little Twin Stars, Tiny Poem, Robby Rabbit, Tuxedosam, Goropikadon, Zashikibuta, Hangyodon, Minna no Tabo and so on) plus rare original merchandise. I had a quick look online and Sanrio Days is available at Amazon Japan! It costs about 1400 yen.