Hello Kitty to launch product range for men

by Yuri Kageyama

The Associated Press

Hello Kitty is no sexist.

The cute cuddly white cat from Sanrio Co., usually seen on toys and jewelry for girls and young women, will soon adorn shirts, bags, watches and other products targeting young men, company spokesman Kazuo Tohmatsu said.

“We think Hello Kitty is accepted by young men as a design statement in fashion,” he said.

The feline for men products will go on sale in Japan on Wednesday and will be sold soon in the United States and other parts of Asia, according to Sanrio.

The usual bubble-headed shape of Hello Kitty was slightly changed for a more rugged, cool look to appeal to men in their teens and early 20s.

For example, a picture of the cat on a ¥4,095 black T-shirt has the words, “hello kitty,” instead of the usual dots for the eyes and nose.

Hello Kitty is one of mascot-obsessed Japan’s biggest “character” hits, decorating everything from a humble ¥126 eraser to a ¥5.5 million diamond necklace.

The planned products mark the first time Sanrio is developing Hello Kitty items especially for men, Tohmatsu said.

“Young men these days grew up with character goods,” Tohmatsu said. “That generation feels no embarrassment about wearing Hello Kitty.”