Vintage Sanrio

KITTY

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.”

strawberryking

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!

mymelody

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.

pattyjimmy

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.

PATTY

bunnyandmatty

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.

sanriodays

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. 

8 Comments

  1. Posted July 28, 2009 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    strawberry king is cute! i love the idea of spreading strawberry love and peace in a strawberry kingdom :)

  2. Posted July 28, 2009 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    I love this post (so cute, I think I will have to acquire that book)!!
    I grew up with HK & My Melody. :D

  3. Posted July 29, 2009 at 2:32 am | Permalink

    So so cute amy!

  4. prettyprettyyumyum
    Posted July 29, 2009 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    Isn’t Sanrio the best?? I didn’t know the full story about lots of those characters until recently. Makes them even cuter : )
    PS The book cover is way more kawaii and pink in real life! (The scanner didn’t do it justice)

  5. nomnomnomza
    Posted July 31, 2009 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    cute characters!!

  6. Morgen
    Posted April 25, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    Has anyone ever seen “Strawberry”, the original character created in 1962? This would probably have been introduced under the original name of the company, “Yamanashi”. It’s driving me crazy trying to find this! I suspect Strawberry looked like the Strawberry King, but I’d love to see a picture to be sure!

  7. Jennifer
    Posted August 29, 2011 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    Hi! I am looking for any Kimi Kameleen items or exercise bears from the late 80’s and early 90’s from when I worked at Friendship Station back in the day! Please let me know if anyone has any! Thanks!

  8. Posted September 30, 2014 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for finally writing about >Vintage Sanrio pretty pretty
    yum yum <Loved it!

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