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Hello Kitty’s lengthy list of endorsement contracts must be a source of constant pressure for her. The success of products as diverse as contact lenses, melons, and even fire extinguishers riding on her marketing appeal must be an enormous weight on the shoulder’s of Japan’s favorite feline.

Now, Kitty-chan’s about to add an enormous weight to her head, as part of a new tie-up with the city of Kure in Hiroshima Prefecture.

Along with its curry restaurants, Kure’s major claim to fame is its long history as a shipbuilding center. While it produces commercial vessels today, Kure was also the birthplace of Japan’s most storied battleship, the Yamato.

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Launched in 1940 and sunk five years later, the 263-meter (862-foot) Yamato stands as one of the two largest battleships ever built, along with its identically-sized sister ship the Musashi. The Yamato has since become a symbol of Kure, along with the subject of a museum located in the town.

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Like many other regions and cities in Japan, Kure has entered into a cross-promotional deal with Hello Kitty. A line of limited edition merchandise goes on sale late this month, combining the most recognizable icons of Sanrio and Kure in the most straightforward way possible.

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Fans of all things cute or naval history can pick up Kure Hello Kitty cell phone straps, socks, pens, and memo pads, at prices ranging from 400 to 500 yen (US $3.90 to $4.90).

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Officially, that’s a “battleship-shaped hat” on top of Kitty-chan’s head, and not an actual ocean-going vessel with a displacement of 65,000 tons. It still looks plenty heavy, though, especially in light of Hello Kitty’s profile that lists her as only weighing as much as three apples. She’s got to be exhausted after a full shift wearing it, but hopefully she’ll still have enough energy to hop on over to Hiroshima City and treat herself to one of those cream puff cones as a reward for a hard day’s work.

Source: At Press
Top image: At Press
Insert images: Naval History and Heritage Command, Hiroshima Kanko Navi, At Press
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