I was born as Kitty White in the suburbs of London, England, on 1 November 1975 to Japanese parents. I am now age 40, stand at a height of five apples, and weigh as much as three. I met Cocoa Evenings when she was a preadolescent, somewhere between seven and nine years’ old. I liked her the moment I saw her, for she had the most beautiful big smile and brilliant twinkling eyes. I shook her outstretched arm and said,
“My name is Hello Kitty.”
She picked me up and hugged me enthusiastically.
I think it was love at first sight.
Yes, it is love. I found myself duplicated in many ways. I appeared on wallets, pencil cases, stickers, utensils, boxes, pens, umbrellas, necklaces, stationary holders, hair clips, and many more! I have never really been out of her sight.
I found out that those duplicates were mostly gifts for her birthday.
Cocoa loves Hello Kitty so much that she would always request her presents to be a Hello Kitty item. That is how she has a mini collection of Hello Kitty.
That, is also how I became a kind of symbol of love from other people to Cocoa.
Furthermore, in all the years that we have known each other, she did always reiterate that I was the source of motivation for her to study hard back then.
She said she would one day bring me back to my parents’ homeland – Japan. She said she needed to get good grades so as to qualify for the state-funded Japanese Language Programme, and only then she could go to Japan. She said she would not let me and herself down.
With that determination and perseverance, she made it into the programme.
Halfway through, she wanted very much to give up. However, her mother encouraged her see it through and reminded her of what she promised me. She dug deep, and found the strength and courage to see it through.
Slightly under two decades from the time we met, she finally made the trip to Japan with me.
Now, I am elated that we made it together! I cannot be more proud of her. She is proud of me too.
I have become more than Hello Kitty, a cat without mouth.
I have become a symbol of success. I have become a symbol of achievement. I have become a symbol of hard work. I have become a symbol of determination. I have become a symbol of strength. I have become a symbol of courage. I have become a symbol of support. I have become a symbol of love. I have become a symbol of lifelong commitment.
In Singapore, Hello Kitty is a little bit of a symbol of the Singaporean kiasu (afraid to lose) mentality and competitive spirit. Also, Hello Kitty is sometimes used as a metaphor, to depict highly popular items that garner crazily long queues. Hello Kitty was sold as a MacDonald’s Happy Meal plush toy for the first time in 1996, then in 2000, and 2014. Hello Kitty will make a 2015 appearance specially for SG50, Singapore’s Golden Jubilee. To understand this more, see Hello Kitty Craze.
In the world today, Hello Kitty is a symbol of social communication, international friendship, and speaking from the heart, without language bias. Hello Kitty is not merely a logo that lives in someone’s childhood.
Do you recognise Hello Kitty? What does Hello Kitty mean to you? Is she anything more than a cute character?
In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Symbol.”
[Photo:Taken from Hello Kitty Run 2014 T-shirt that I own.]