Hello Kitty, the bow-wearing Sanrio character, is a worldwide icon, but it turns out that a younger, much edgier cat is now going after her crown.
Meet Yoshikitty. Creator Sanrio has been coming out with annual character rankings since 1985 and this year, Yoshikitty topped the list in France, Germany, and Brazil. She was also second in China and sixth in the world.
While Hello Kitty placed fifth this year overall, Yoshikitty has been tailing her since 2016, when she placed seventh after climbing up from 12th place. In 2018, Yoshikitty even ranked higher at third, and Hello Kitty at fourth. 2020 is the fifth consecutive year that Yoshikitty placed in the top 10 worldwide out of 80 characters.
But who exactly is Yoshikitty? Is she just Hello Kitty in a costume? Why is she so popular?
You may or may not have asked yourself those questions, but here are the answers anyway.
Yoshikitty was introduced in 2009 and was inspired by Yoshiki, the frontman of the band of X JAPAN. The character was created by Hello Kitty designer Yuko Yamaguchi and is the first Sanrio character modeled to a real-life person.
But why base it on Yoshiki? Well, he's very popular.
Formed in 1982, X JAPAN is a metal rock band considered as one of the best in Japan. The group has sold 30 million singles and albums and has sold out concerts in the Tokyo Dome 18 times. As the leader of the band, Yoshiki’s peculiar style, down to earth personality, and sense of humour made him a household name in Japan. Everyone knows him and people from all generations listen to his music. Like Yoshiki, Yoshikitty has a unique look: She has long blonde hair, purple eyeshadow, and is all dressed up in a black suit.
The Sanrio ranking was based on an online voting system and purchases from Sanrio shops.
Following Yoshikitty's recent success, Yoshiki joked in a statement that he would write a song to celebrate.
“I might just compose a Yoshikitty theme song to show my appreciation for all of you. LOL. Thank you,” he said.
There are now over 400 official Sanrio characters. The company was established in Japan’s Yamanashi Prefecture in 1960 and is behind some of Japan’s most famous pop culture icons like Hello Kitty, My Melody, the Little Twin Stars, Gudetama, and more. The characters are so popular that the company created Sanrio Puroland, (aka Hello Kitty Land) an amusement park in Tokyo, where people can meet the characters and enjoy Sanrio-themed rides.
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