In the grand tradition of superhero origin stories, Hello Kitty's past is about to be explored in painstaking detail in an upcoming retrospective of Hello Kitty art, merchandise, and fashion at the Japanese American National Museum, which opens in mid-October. We can expect to learn about how she's an enduring manifestation of Japan's culture of cute, known as kawaii, along with examples of her astounding cultural influence since she began life as a character on a coin purse in 1974.
Oh, and also in preparation for this exhibit, Sanrio -- the Japanese company that designs, licenses, and manufactures Hello Kitty products -- has clarified that Hello Kitty is not a cat.
Repeat: HELLO KITTY IS NOT A CAT. I know, right? This is like when scientists announced that oh, sorry, the Brontosaurus never even existed, everything you thought you knew is a LIE.