In terms of Japanese pop culture, there are a lot of popular characters. Pokémon is extremely popular in Japanese culture but it is probably top five. Characters like Hatsune Miku with her twin green ponytails or Kyary Pamyu with her fashion sense are a couple more icons that have taken Japanese pop culture by storm.
However, nothing quite tops Hello Kitty. Out of all the different characters we’ve talked about, more people get Hello Kitty tattoos than any other characters we’ve mentioned and we get it.
Hello Kitty is also known as Kitī-chan in Japan and it is literally the symbol of the Japanese “cute” culture. The biggest fans of Hello Kitty are also called kitirā. But if Hello Kitty was only popular in Japan, we probably wouldn’t be talking about it. The popularity has spread all over the world and you will see the Hello Kitty tattoos all over the place.
In this post, we are going to talk about the origins and history of Hello Kitty and what has made it such a serious pop culture icon. We will also dive into the meaning of the Hello Kitty tattoo and what it symbolizes for those who choose to have her immortalized on their body. We will talk about some of the different variations of the tattoo we’ve seen and by the time you are done reading this, you should feel much more informed on the matter.
About Hello Kitty
Created by the Japanese company Sanrio in the 1970s, Hello Kitty has become an enormous brand that branched into innumerable amounts of merchandise, franchises, and television. She is an icon of Japanese pop culture that has transferred over to the Western world. The face of Hello Kitty is recognizable as an adorable children’s character, representing charm, kindness and softheartedness. The world of Hello Kitty is simplistic and jovial an ideal of happiness that is easy to capture in childhood.
Not long after Hello Kitty was created in 1974, the coin purse for Hello Kitty was brought to market in 1975 by Sanrio. In 1976, the United States was introduced to Hello Kitty.
Hello Kitty was made to be British by Sanrio because many countries were trendy in Japan and Britain was probably the top country in terms of what was “cool.” In addition, Sanrio already had a number of Hello Kitty characters as American so she wanted to change it up.
The name Kitty came from a scene from Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll. Alice plays with a cat in the book and she named it Kitty. Sanrio had a motto that was essentially to communicate socially so instead of just using Kitty, they tried out “Hi Kitty” first but then ended up settling on “Hello” to be a greeting.
The spokespeople for the company say that Hello Kitty is mouthless because they want customers to project their feelings onto Hello Kitty. This was so they could be sad or happy with Hello Kitty. It is also said that the character doesn’t need a mouth because she speaks from the heart and that when you have a mouth, there is a language and Hello Kitty speaks all languages and most importantly, the language of friendship and love.
Hello Kitty is said to be a symbol of friendship and by giving her no mouth, the hope is that Hello Kitty can unite all nations around the world in friendship and love. Hello Kitty is an ambassador of love and friendship and this explains why she is so loved all over the world. The idea of not giving her a mouth really presses the idea of unity.
There have also been many Hello Kitty TV series. The first Hello Kitty series to come out was called Hello Kitty’s Furry Tale Theater and it was on air during the year of 1987 and put out 13 episodes. Later in 1993, Hello Kitty and Friends was born and in 1999, Hello Kitty’s Paradise was released. There have been many other series in the Hello Kitty franchise including merchandise, comic books and movies.
Hello Kitty Tattoo Meaning
Hello Kitty designs are generally simple, rendering the cartoon with the few lines and colors of the original image. Her blank white face holds three whiskers on either side of the face, a yellow oval nose and simple black eyes. She wears a bow over the left ear which is red.
The twin sister of Hello Kitty, Mimi, appears exactly the same except the color and location of the bow changes to yellow on the opposite ear. The body of Hello Kitty is just slightly bigger than her head and she is most often depicted with a t-shirt underneath a pair of blue overalls. One hand is usually raised in the air, signifying a greeting. Small details like hearts, stars, and diamonds are added to create a fuller image.
Hello Kitty is a nostalgic icon of childhood and adolescence that many people chose to capture. She can be designed in countless outfits and styles ranging from simple clothing or uniforms to traditional Japanese female dress or Samurai armor.
In addition to everything stated above, the Hello Kitty tattoo meaning is symbolic of friendship and love. The fact that Hello Kitty has no mouth is representative of speaking from the heart which is a universal language so those that have this tattoo might be conjuring their inner peace and unity. This is the beautiful thing about the Hello Kitty tattoo. For those who are fans of the look or the “cute” culture, Hello Kitty can fill that space in a tattoo. However, the meaning can be much deeper for those who are trying to spread a message about love.
Hello Kitty Tattoo Variations
She is often designed with additional features to add another aspect to the piece. Wings are added to create an angelic or fairy-like appearance, she is given glasses or other accessories and objects. More modernly, Hello Kitty is rendered ironically with imagery taken from other sources to transform the gentle kitten into an ominous character or character inappropriate for the Hello Kitty world.
Hello Kitty can be manipulated into a zombie design, a “goth” or “punk” style, a skeleton, a sugar skull, or another fictitious character like a superhero, a Star Wars persona, and countless others.
You can go any direction you want with the Hello Kitty tattoo. That is the best thing about it. It is very similar to a Barbie or a Mr. Potato Head in the sense that you can doll your tattoo up and put any accessories you would like to have on it. This is why you will see so many variations of the tattoo. From hula Hello Kitty to football player Hello Kitty, the possibilities are truly endless.
The key to getting a good Hello Kitty tattoo is to do your research before going out and finding a tattoo artist or shop. The Hello Kitty tattoo is usually done in a new school style, which looks like a cartoon and embellishes parts of the tattoo. Fortunately, most tattoo artists and shops have their work online whether it be on Facebook or Instagram. You should be able to find what you are looking for.
After you have an idea of where you want to go, sit down and have a consultation with your artist. This is an essential step because you want to be comfortable with whomever you choose and if you rush into the tattoo, you might not feel good about it later.