Hello Kitty at 40, giving adults a licence to play
Hello Kitty is an iconic fictional character that most people will recognise from childhood, but many were surprised to discover that she is not a cat.
It was back in 1974 in Japan when Hello Kitty was first introduced by creator Yuko Shimizu, and 49 years on, it is an established aspect of kawaii culture in the country.
The character is distinctly recognisable for its white cat-shaped face with a red bow, button nose and no visible mouth - so if Hello Kitty isn't a cat, then what is it?
Turns out Hello Kitty is a girl named Kitty White and she's not actually from Japan but rather a suburb in London and lives with her family which includes her parents, twin sister Mimmy and her pet cat Charmmy Kitty.
"Hello Kitty is not a cat. She’s a cartoon character," Christine R. Yano told LA Times back in 2014 after she had to "firmly correct" the Japanese American National Museum, who described Hello Kitty "as a cat."
"She is a little girl. She is a friend. But she is not a cat. She’s never depicted on all fours. She walks and sits like a two-legged creature. She does have a pet cat of her own, however, and it’s called Charmmy Kitty.”
Recently, many fans have shared how they've stumbled across this fact in viral videos circulating online.
TikToker @bugfishhhh went viral for their reaction to discovering this fact, and the video received 7.8m views.