Hello Kitty is a character originally designed by Yuko Shimizu and used by the company Sanrio as their mascot and for a wide range of merchandise. As of March 2015 the current character design is by Yuko Yamaguchi.
Hello Kitty is a white cat based on the Japanese bobtail. She usually wears a red bow on her head and walks upright like a person. She was first introduced in 1974 on coin purses sold by Sanrio. Hello Kitty became very popular, and Sanrio quickly expanded the product line. Hello Kitty products were first sold in the United States in 1976.
Hello Kitty has enjoyed continuous popularity since her introduction, and today the product line featuring her image is extremely extensive. Sanrio retail stores are frequently decorated with a Hello Kitty theme and sell many of these products. Other themed businesses include a maternity hospital in Taiwan, cafes in Thailand and South Korea, and a restaurant in Taiwan. Hello Kitty is also featured at Sanrio's theme park in Tokyo.
Among the more unique Hello Kitty products are a series of passenger jets in Taiwan and a Fender Stratocaster limited edition guitar. There have also been a number of animated and live-action television series as well as video games.