In 1975, a coin purse featuring an expressionless cat with its head turned sideways and sitting next to a fish bowl went on sale in Japan. The company was Sanrio. The designer was Yuko Yamaguchi. The cat became known as "Kitty-chan", and outside Japan as Hello Kitty. Decades later, is the cat still cute?
Hello Kitty might be a Japanese creation, but the character is supposed to be from London. She was given what Sanrio thought was a British name, Kitty White. Yet, even as Dutch illustrator Dick Bruna contested that Hello Kitty and her friends were Miffy knock-offs, the characters came to epitomize cute Japan.