And it’s not just to boost Hello Kitty’s sales.

Hello Kitty is one of Japan’s most famous Japanese characters, having been voted the fifth-most iconic Japanese character. Her popularity is such that she appears in collaborations with many different characters, franchises, and brands across all kinds of mediums.

In fact, she appears in so many places that sometimes it’s almost strange, like when she appeared on chocolates made by Japanese video company Niconico Video. Have you ever wondered why Hello Kitty is everywhere and on the most random things? Japanese Twitter user @kaeritaianokoro claims to have the answer, allegedly from the mouth of Sanrio’s president himself (translation below).

“From Sanrio’s President at their General Meeting for Stockholders:

‘If there are any products you love but feel are in danger of being discontinued because of low sales, tell me. If it does a collaboration with one of Sanrio’s characters, that product’s sales will increase. I made this company so that everyone in the world could get along.’

I was really touched. That must be why Hello Kitty does collaborations with all kinds of things.”

▼ DJ Hello Kitty??

In essence, Hello Kitty collaborates with so many products and businesses not so that Sanrio can make more money, but so that it can help other business grow and expand their market. That’s…surprisingly kind of an industry leader and world-renowned company.

In fact, it seems like Sanrio’s President and founder, Shintaro Tsuji, is a genuinely nice guy. As part of Sanrio’s monthly newsletter, he writes a column entitled, “Special Message from the Strawberry King”, and this month’s topic was “No matter what happens between people, it’s important to be friends and help each other out.”

▼ Hello Kitty promoting baseball

In the letter, Tsuji writes about his experience during World War II, during which he was a college student. With the destruction and death that followed the dropping of the atomic bombs, Tsuji learned the true horrors of war. He writes that he wants people to understand why war is bad and that having good relations with each other is important.

“Because of the war, many people lost their lives, and many people were injured. The scars from the war won’t go away in a few years, a few decades, or even a few centuries.

At that time, I, a mere college freshman, lost many of my classmates.

From that experience, one thing has been carved deeply into my heart: Nothing good comes from war. It’s really important that whatever happens, countries, races, and people should have good relationships and help each other out.

Wanting to share this message with as many people as I could, I founded Sanrio 55 years ago on August 10.”

He goes on to write that the concept of the company was “Small gifts, big smiles.” Hoping to encourage communication between people, Sanrio began to produce small, inexpensive, cute gifts that would bring people together and promote cooperative living. That’s how Hello Kitty and all of her friends were born, and that’s how Hello Kitty still operates today.

What a touching origin story. In an age where “black companies,” which prioritize profits over employee and consumer satisfaction, are more than common in Japan, it’s refreshing and endearing that a company like Sanrio would work hard to promote cooperation and friendship among people.

▼ Hello Kitty Hakata-style spicy cod roe flavored ramen from Fukuoka

Japanese netizens were equally impressed and touched with Tsuji’s words:

“Hello Kitty, I’m sorry! I always thought you were a collaboration slut! You actually had a reason for it…”
“So Hello Kitty has been working hard to protect all the things people love! Thank you, Hello Kitty!”
“I just thought she’d do anything for money…But there was a noble reason the whole time.”
“The reason why Hello Kitty couldn’t say no to a job is because of this! Sanrio’s President is so cool. ”
“How cool! I kind of want to buy Sanrio stock now.”

Clearly, Hello Kitty is lovable in more ways than one, and even those of us who aren’t die-hard collectors of pastel-colored Sanrio goods have a reason to respect the anthropomorphic cat-girl now. With this new knowledge, maybe people will even have a new appreciation for seemingly over-the-top Hello Kitty collaborations like the Hello Kitty-themed bullet train.

Sources: Twitter/@kaeritaianokoro via Hachima KikouSpecial Message from the Strawberry King
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