Yumi Shida, a 15-year-old model for a popular teen magazine, never feels lonely, even when she has to work away from her family — if she has some Hello Kitty goods with her.

Hello Kitty is “even a god for me,” said Shida, a first-year high school student, who calls herself “a kittyler” — an enthusiastic fan of the character created by the Sanrio Co.

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