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How Hello Kitty Took Over Our Pencil Cases

1974 Hello Kitty

She’s turning 40 this year, but don’t dare call her over the hill. From the sound of it, the Hello Kitty world domination tour is just getting started.

A new BBC article follows Hello Kitty from her humble beginnings as a drawing for kindergarteners to worldwide icon capable of inciting riots. The mouthless one has become Japan’s ambassador of cute and, on occasion, literally a Japanese ambassador. Like, the government made her a tourism ambassador. Pretty sure Mickey Mouse can’t claim that, and worse still for the mouse, the cat is pulling in millions more per year in licensing money.

Anyway, if you want to know why you love Hello Kitty, just go look at that big, whiskered face and remind yourself. If you want to know why the rest of the world has fallen under her spell in the last 40 years, well, put it this way—that serene, friendly face is pretty much everything the outside world isn’t. What’s not to love?