Entertainment

Cuteness alert: Hello Kitty coming to Seattle’s EMP

Hello! Kitty, the ubiquitous animated cat with the bow in her hair, will be featured in an exhibit at the EMP Museum in Seattle.
Hello! Kitty, the ubiquitous animated cat with the bow in her hair, will be featured in an exhibit at the EMP Museum in Seattle. Courtesy

Ubiquitous may be an overused term but it’s certainly apt when describing Hello Kitty — the perpetually cute Japanese cat whose paws span the Pacific Ocean.

Owned by the Sanrio company, the little girl cat with a ribbon in its hair appears on just about every product imaginable.

Not bad for a cartoon cat that doesn’t even have a mouth.

If you haven’t yet reached cuteness saturation then you’ll want to be at Seattle’s EMP Museum on Nov. 14. That’s when “Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty” opens.

In a nod to the kitty’s 40th anniversary, the show is the first large-scale Hello Kitty museum retrospective in the United States.

The show is organized by Sanrio and the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, where the exhibition originated and where attendance records were shattered by the innocent-looking kitty.

Forbes puts the brand at No. 5 for licensing fees — to a tune of $800 million. Only Star Wars, Pooh and Disney brands outsell the catty pop icon. We could go on about all the “never saw that one coming” items with the Hello Kitty brand but we’ll just leave at this: In 2008, a Hello Kitty-themed maternity hospital opened in Taiwan.

OK, one more: When you and baby are ready to travel, get on an Eva Air Hello Kitty-themed jet at Taipei’s airport.

Back in Seattle, the “Hello!” show will use 600 rare and unique objects to examine the history of Hello Kitty and her influence on popular culture. More than 40 mixed media works demonstrate Hello Kitty’s impact on contemporary artists.

The exhibition was curated by Christine Yano, author of “Pink Globalization: Hello Kitty’s Trek Across the Pacific,” and Jamie Rivadeneira of pop culture boutique JapanLA.

Exhibits on display span the 40 years of Hello Kitty’s life including her first telephone, stationery, and other products from the 1970s and 1980s. There’s also contemporary objects including the Hello Kitty dress worn by Lady Gaga, a bustier worn by Katy Perry, diamond jewelry and a Hello Kitty talking robot.

Artists featured in the show include Gary Baseman, Kazuki Takamatsu, Kozyndan, Osamu Watanabe and Simone Legno.

“Hello!” will be on view at EMP through May 15. There’s no word yet if Grumpy Cat or Hello Kitty Darth Vader will make appearances.

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