Here's how it all began. In 1960, a visionary
named Shintaro Tsuji formed a company designed to
bring big smiles through little gifts to youngsters
worldwide. Tsuji created a line designed around gift-giving
occasions. 41 years later, Tsuji is the Chairman of
the Sanrio Company, Ltd. based in Tokyo. In 1976,
the Sanrio craze spread to the U.S. when the first
American boutique opened in California. Today there
are over 4,000 locations in North and South America
that proudly display Sanrio character information,
and over 200 Sanrio boutique stores. Sanrio now distributes
their products throughout Japan, Southeast Asia, the
Americas and Europe.
In the early days, Sanrio had two main characters-Hello
Kitty and Little Stars. Sanrio introduced Hello Kitty
on November 1, 1974. She resides in London with her
parents and her twin sister, Mimmy. They are in third
grade and have close friendships with Tracey, a boy
raccoon, and Joey, Hello Kitty likes to travel, listen
to music, read and eat Mimmy's cookies. Sanrio developed
Hello Kitty to serve as a friendly companion to people
of all ages. And for everyone who wants to know, she
does not have a mouth because she is Sanrio's ambassador
to the world and therefore speaks from the heart,
not constrained by language.
In 1975, Kiki and Lala, Little Twin Stars, became
a part of the family. They were born on the Star of
Compassion. During their early years, they passed
the time wondering about life on Earth. After Mother-Star
and Father-Star gave them permission, they traveled
to Earth. Lala's wand led them while they were on
their journey and ever since they came to Earth, their
purpose has been to spread happiness to everyone they
meet. In an effort to appeal to more children, Sanrio
created the gender-neutral character Keroppi. Keroppi
was born on July 1st. He lives in a big house on the
edge of Donut Pond with his brother, sister, and parents.
Keroppi and his friends spend their days playing games;
their favorites are baseball and boomerangs. He also
was the first character introduced with a love life.
He has a girlfriend, Keroleen, that he spends a lot
of time with. Also he has his own sidekick, his snail
friend Den Den, that always tags along behind him.
introduced the lovable Pochacco in 1989. Pochacco's
birthday is February 29th-yep he's a leap year pup.
Pochacco is the popular purebred in the neighborhood
because he is the best basketball player and goalie
on the playground. What's cool about Pochacco is
that he's a vegetarian. Instead of doggie bones,
he prefers carrots and banana ice cream. Another
great character is Pekkle, the duck, introduced
in 1989. Pekkle's birthday is July 27th. He's a
funny, wannabe lifeguard from Australia who can't
swim. He is a very loyal and devoted to his girlfriend
Ruby and his aquatic companion, Pich the fish. He
also has a talent for dancing and body surfing.
He prefers to spend his time at the beach with Ruby
The rebel in the Sanrio family is Badtz Maru, the
mischievous penguin. His birthday is April 1st and
he celebrates the spirit of his birthday all year
by constantly telling jokes and pulling pranks.
He resides in Gorgeoustown with his mother and pinball-playing
father. He is a first grade student at Gorgeous
Academy. He takes his pet alligator Pochi everywhere.
To bide his time before he can achieve greatness
elsewhere, Badtz Maru rolls his eyes and makes fun
of his life in Gorgeoustown. Each character represents
and symbolizes a different stage of childhood.
The Little Twin Stars are perfect for young children
and bring compassion, comfort and joy to the hearts
of little kids. Hello Kitty, on the other hand,
is an older child that has a life similar to many
third graders. Kids can relate to the idea of seeking
adventure and fun. Keroppi is at the stage when
children begin to find out their individual abilities
and want to seek their own identities. Pochacco
is the cool kid that everyone wanted to be on the
playground while Badtz Maru is the rebel that many
of us envied with his mischievous and cool pranks.
There are several reasons why, even as college students,
Sanrio products still have a hold over us. They
forever connect us to our childhood and bring back
the days before we had to worry about differential
equations. In addition, the products are cool because
they feature the best parts of Japanese animation
and design. And as Kathryn Lyall, a first year Biology
major, said, "It's just something that even though
you get older, you never grow out of Hello Kitty.
It just appeals to all ages because it's just so