|Hello Kitty designer Yuko Yamaguchi defends cute character as cat turns 40 years old|
Yuko Yamaguchi, the third designer of Japanese cartoon and global mega-brand Hello Kitty, poses with various dolls during a press conference in Hong Kong on July 17, 2014. Speaking on the sidelines of the Hong Kong Book Fair, Yamaguchi defended the Japanese cartoon cat in the face of other rivals as Hello Kitty prepares to celebrate her 40th birthday. Hello Kitty, which started in 1974 in Japan as a moon-faced cartoon cat on a coin purse, has since developed into a global cultural phenomenon. AFP PHOTO / Aaron Tam.
HONG KONG (AFP).- The flamboyant designer of Japanese cartoon and global mega-brand Hello Kitty defended the cute cat against new rivals Thursday as the character prepares to celebrate her 40th birthday.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Hong Kong Book Fair, Yuko Yamaguchi took the concept of life imitating art to another level, wearing a Kitty-style strawberry dress with dyed auburn hair piled into two buns topped with a red ribbon -- the cat's signature accessory.
As Kitty enters her next decade, she faces increasing competition from more cutting-edge cartoons like Brown and Cony, the bear and rabbit mascots of Tokyo-based messaging app LINE, which has taken Asia by storm in recent months.
But Yamaguchi insisted Kitty would cope with growing older in a digital age.
"There are new cartoon characters that are coming out daily... (but) I think Hello Kitty is the only one that can adapt to the changes in the world," Yamaguchi said.
The moon-faced mouthless white cat first appeared in 1974 on a coin purse in Japan and has since built up a worldwide fanbase, appearing on everything from handbags to sex toys.
Her image is licensed by Japanese company Sanrio, which says on its website that it makes more than US$5 billion dollars in retail sales each year. Hello Kitty is its flagship brand.
Yamaguchi, at the Hong Kong fair to tie in with its new Japan Pavilion, has been the lead designer of Hello Kitty since 1980 and promotes herself as the character's best friend.
"She is very motivated and open and wants to face the future," she says of the character.
There are plenty of detractors of Hello Kitty's sweetness -- entire blogs are dedicated to tearing down the cute icon, with online spoofs depicting her like a horror movie character.
But Yamaguchi insists her appeal can endure.
"There are already three generations of fans that like Hello Kitty, so I hope that there will be more fans like that in the future, like people in a family loving Hello Kitty together," she said.
The main Hello Kitty 40th birthday celebrations will take place later this year, including the first ever fan convention, hosted in Los Angeles at the end of October.
© 1994-2014 Agence France-Presse
July 18, 2014
'Summer of 1914: The Last Days of the Old World' opens at the Bibliothèque nationale
British Museum re-opens a gallery space dedicated to Ancient Egyptian civilisation
Hayward Gallery exhibition explores the human figure in contemporary sculpture
Archaeologists find mammoth's tusks used during pre-Hispanic times as an offering
Dallas Museum of Art first to present Slavs and Tatars' complete Love Letters Carpet series
Group show of paintings, prints, relief objects and works on canvas opens at Lisson Gallery
Gerald Peters Gallery opens new gallery space, Peters Projects, in Santa Fe
Hello Kitty designer Yuko Yamaguchi defends cute character as cat turns 40 years old
Bonhams to offer 'Jimmy's' Quadrophenia scooter replica at Beaulieu
Exhibition marks the 150th anniversary of the death of King Wilhelm I of Württemberg
First piece of U.S. Federal currency highlights Heritage Auctions' ANA Platinum Night
Deep One Perfect Morning: Group exhibition opens at Kerlin Gallery in Dublin
Kayne Griffin Corcoran opens a series of solo exhibitions disguised as a group show
Exhibition of photographs by Natalia Arias' opens at the OAS AMA / Art Museum of the Americas
Sketch for famous painting of Victoria Cross boy hero from World War I for sale at Bonhams
Exhibition of works by sculptor and war historian Steve Hurst on view at Pangolin London
San Francisco Tribal & Textile Arts Show debuts new website, floor plan for 2015 fair
Bicentennial exhibition at the Ukrainian Museum honors Ukraine's greatest cultural figure
'Gisèle Freund: Photographic scenes and portraits' on view at Akademie der Künste, Berlin
Japanese calligraphy and paintings on view at The Hudgens
20th century jewellery & silver achieve top prices in day of luxury sales at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions
Artist duo invite city to come out and play: Swing It!, a large-scale new work opens in Yorkshire
Most Popular Last Seven Days
1.- Archaeologists find 5,000-year-old skeletons in an ancient village in northern India
2.- Exhibition at the Louvre museum offers rare glimpse of the ancient Thracian culture
3.- Most Britons ignorant over Battle of Waterloo: National Army Museum poll
4.- Sotheby's to offer the historic collection of Mary, Duchess of Roxburghe
5.- Van Gogh and Rothko: Two masterpieces of modern art unveiled at Sotheby's London
6.- Recently discovered self-portrait headlines 'Leonardo da Vinci and the Idea of Beauty' at MFA Boston
7.- Supermodel Gisele Bundchen, world's top-earning model, makes teary last catwalk turn
8.- Le Corbusier legacy threatened by revelations in new books that architect was 'fascist'
9.- Groundbreaking photographs of India's Sidi community go on show in the UK for the first time
10.- William and Kate: royal parents with a modern image
Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .
|Royalville Communications, Inc|