I remember it from the late 70's.
My good friend had teeny, tiny bags filled with miniature pencils and pads and god-knows what else, I can't remember it all.
They were very adorable.
I'm mildly obsessed. It's part kitsch and part unironic appreciation of the kawaii. My favorite gift this past Christmas was a Hello Kitty miniature sushi bar set; it is adorbs. I also love my Hello Kitty tarot card set.
I don't talk about my HK love in mixed company.
HELLO KITTY is a rip-off of Miffy the white bunny by Dutch children's book author Dick Bruna.
In 1976, Sanrio introduced Cathy, a bunny friend of Kitty who was an even closer ripoff.
Miffy (introduced in 1955) made Bruna a millionaire already, and he did a cool thing by coming to an agreement with Sanrio After the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami both sides decided to come together in the spirit of conciliation to help the victims of the disaster.
The lawsuit was dropped and Sanrio agreed to retire Cathy. Both sides donated the saved legal costs (¥17.66 million yen) to the victims of the earthquake.