Hello Kitty (ハローキティ, Harō Kiti?), full name Kitty White (キティ・ホワイト, Kiti Howaito?),[1] is the best-known of many simply drawn fictional characters produced by the Japanese company Sanrio. Hello Kitty is a friendly white kitty with the head larger than her body, small button eyes and nose, but no mouth. She is said to be five apples tall and the weight of three apples.[2]

In 1974, Sanrio Co. Ltd. of Tokyo, introduced the Hello Kitty franchise. The first Hello Kitty item was a vinyl coin purse sold in Tokyo. In 1976, the franchise was introduced into the U.S. The Hello Kitty line has developed under licensing arrangements worth more than $1 billion a year in sales.[3] Examples of products depicting the character include dolls, stickers and greeting cards to clothes, accessories, school supplies, dishes and home appliances.[2] Sanrio Puroland is the official theme park of Sanrio featuring Hello Kitty and her friends.

 

The 30-bed Hau Sheng Hospital in Yuanlin in central Taiwan is reportedly the world’s first Hello Kitty themed medical establishment.

From blankets and birth certificates to cots and uniforms worn by staff, every aspect of the Hello Kitty hospital is emblazoned with the feline motif.

Patients are welcomed by a statue of Hello Kitty dressed in a doctor’s uniform, before travelling in a Hello Kitty elevator to a pink examination room with Hello Kitty posters on the wall.

The hospital’s director Tsai Tsung-chi opened the £2m (T$100m) hospital in his hometown after obtaining authorisation from the fictitious cat’s Japanese parent company Sanrio Co Ltd.

Describing the objectives of the hospital, he said: "I wish that everyone who comes here, mothers who suffer while giving birth and children who suffer from an illness, can get medical care while seeing these kitties and bring a smile to their faces, helping forget about discomfort and recover faster."

Among the first mothers to give birth in the Hello Kitty themed hospital was Chen Shing-chiu, 38, mother of a newborn baby boy.

"Unlike traditional hospitals that are mostly white, I feel this one is pretty good," she said. "I like Hello Kitty very much myself." Despite turning 34 years of age this year, Hello Kitty has retained a healthy army of fans both in her native Japan and overseas.

From gracing the cover of Japanese Vogue earlier this year to the launch of a Hello Kitty themed aeroplane, there are few aspects of society untouched by the nation’s love for the button-eyed feline

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