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Cynics would say yes, fans would say maybe.

Why does Hello Kitty exist?

That might seem like an odd question to suddenly ask about such a beloved and well-known entity, but as a fictional character, someone had to will Kitty-chan into being. Much as a tailor wouldn’t make a shirt without a purpose or an engineer wouldn’t build a bridge to nowhere, there has to have been some reason for Sanrio to launch the Hello Kitty brand back in 1975.

Cynics would say that Hello Kitty exists for the purpose of helping parent company Sanrio make a profit, and in many ways it’s a hard statement to argue against. Not only does the Hello Kitty brand earn hundreds of billions of yen every year for Sanrio, the latest Hello Kitty product’s primary purpose is explicitly to take fans’ money.

Hello Kitty is about to join the lineup of Itazura Bank (“Teasing Bank”), the line of cute Japanese coin banks that feature characters that claim any coins you leave lying on top of the unit.

▼ A non-Hello Kitty, but still cat-themed, Itazura Bank


The still-in-development Hello Kitty Itazura Bank is yet to be shown off in motion, but the manufacturers have released this handy illustrated guide showing what we can expect in the finished product.

▼ 1. Set your coin on top, and…
2. …Kitty-chan appears!
3. She takes your money…
4. …and hides!!

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Some would call this the purest metaphor for Japan’s entire character merchandise economic subsector, in that fans are expected to literally and directly offer their cash to Kitty-chan. However, more pure-hearted Hello Kitty supporters would take the stance that while the character does bring in rivers of revenue for Sanrio, her real purpose is to provide happiness and dreams to all of her fans, and in a more romantic sense, that’s what she’s doing here.

See, while the Kitty-chan bank (which is scheduled to go on sale in September) has sensors and moving parts, it’s not so automated that after it collects your change it can box and mail the coins to Sanrio headquarters. On the contrary, the money still belongs to you. Hello Kitty is just keeping it safe, and also encouraging you not to waste your hard-earned money, but to save it until you have enough to spend on something you really want in the future.

After all, there’s no way this is the last cute Sanrio product we’re going to see, and when the next one hits the market, owners of the Hello Kitty bank are going to be glad they still have all those 100-yen coins.

If you saved a 100-yen coin every time Casey says something on Twitter, you could buy yourself a pretty nice lunch by the end of the week.

Source: At Press
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Insert image: At Press (edited by RocketNews24)
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