The rise of Hello Kitty as a cultural icon has mirrored the expansion of Japan’s pop culture overseas in the past 40 years or so. Author Christine R. Yano examines this complex relationship in “Pink Globalization: Hello Kitty’s Trek Across the Pacific,” a 300-page book of essays that traces the mouthless feline’s growing popularity. Featuring one-on-one interviews with Hello Kitty fans and detractors alike, it offers readers a rare insight into the iconic cat’s influence on gender, nostalgia and national identity. By the book’s end, you should understand Kitty-chan’s journey from innocent kitten to sophisticated global superstar — even if you still don’t quite get her overall appeal.
Pink Globalization, by Christine R. Yano, Duke University Press