Sanrio and X Japan mega-stars announce the newest stage of the decade-plus partnership.

Back in November, fans were startled to learn that Hello Kitty had lost her voice, and not in a laryngitis kind of way. After 33 years of voicing the character, legendary anime voice actress Megumi Hayashibara revealed that Sanrio had come to the decision to remove her from the role. In addition to no longer providing Kitty-chan’s speaking voice, Hayashibara won’t be providing her singing one either, and all of her videos singing as the character, including the adorable Hello Kitty cover of the Sailor Moon theme song, were swiftly removed from YouTube.

However, Hello Kitty is getting a new source of musical star power, as she’s entering a musical partnership with esteemed J-rock icon Yoshiki.

The former X Japan front man actually has a pretty long working relationship with the Sanrio star, stretching back to 2009 when they first combined their personas to collectively create the Yoshikitty character. Since then, Yoshikitty has appeared on Yoshiki’s YouTube channel and in the musical artist’s dinner shows. In 2024, though, they’ll be kicking things up a notch as Yoshiki will be composing and performing an official Hello Kitty 50th anniversary theme song to celebrate Kitty-chan’s five decades of being the world’s biggest ambassador of kawaii culture.

“Hello Kitty, congratulations on your 50th anniversary. It is a great honor for me to receive an offer to create an official global theme song for such a wonderful event,” said Yoshiki in an English-language statement, implying that the song will be used as part of Kitty-chan’s 50th birthday celebration not just in Japan, but overseas as well. “Hello Kitty is always cute and makes everyone smile. But that is not all. You also have inner strength. And as you make friends with others, I feel as if I understand the many reasons why people around the world love you.”

▼ “This is a great honor,” added Yoshiki through his Twitter account, saying that he’ll be beginning the composing process soon and asking “What kind of song is everyone hoping for?”

The multi-talented Yoshiki is an accomplished composer, lyricist, drummer, and pianist, but usually leaves the singing up to someone else. It’s possible that Sanrio plans to use the Yoshiki-composed global theme song as a splashy public debut of Hello Kitty’s new voice, although the company has yet to announce a replacement voice actress for Hayashibara, whose comments regarding her leaving the role suggested that an A.I.-generated voice could be a possibility.

Yoshiki’s Hello Kitty theme song is scheduled to be released sometime this spring.

Source, top image: Press release
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Follow Casey on Twitter, where there’s a pretty good chance he’s listening to a Megumi Hayashibara song right now.