Hello Kitty's 50th birthday celebration begins in Hong Kong

The brand has partnered with the Harbour City to organise a string of curated events and exhibitions until Feb 25.

The 5m-tall red Hello Kitty Daruma alongside the stunning Victoria Harbour (All photos: Harbour City)

Hello Kitty, Japanese entertainment company Sanrio’s best-known character, stacks up at “five apples tall and three apples heavy” but her global appeal far outweighs bushels of the fruit as she turns 50 this year. Not surprising, as you can spot the white cat with her signature red bow wherever you go, on food packets, shoes and clothing, utensils, bags, stationery, pins and all manner of merchandise. In fact, Hello Kitty product lines can be found in more than 130 countries.

Fans who cannot have enough of this icon can catch curated events to celebrate her birthday worldwide, which started in Hong Kong and will run until Feb 25.

Befitting her role as International Friendship Ambassador for Harbour City, there are ample spots for photo opportunities with this humanoid cat, from a special logo on which she looks as cute as when she was born in November 1974, to a 5m-high daruma (Japanese traditional doll) in a garden where visitors can seek blessings, or thematic art installations inspired by this girl whose favourite subjects in school are English, music and art.


Yuko Yamaguchi, leading designer for Hello Kitty in 1980, is the third and current designer for the Kitty brand (Photo: Harbour City)

Pop-up stores stocked with products and sweet shops where you can pick up cookies and candies adorned with the character can be a last stop to grab kawaii gifts for friends equally enamoured with Hello Kitty. What’s more, your journey with her can continue after Hong Kong as Sanrio has lined up augmented reality projects around the world to keep the party going.

There will be celebrations at the Shibuya 109 store in Tokyo, Big Ben in London, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Taipei 101 in Taiwan and the Empire State Building in New York City.

This article first appeared on Feb 12, 2024 in The Edge Malaysia.


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