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What is Sanrio?

hello kitty san rio

If you’re a fan of all things cute and adorable, you’ve likely heard of Sanrio. But what is Sanrio exactly? It’s a Japanese company that has been creating beloved pop culture characters since 1960. Their characters, known as Kawaii, have become a global sensation, capturing hearts and imagination across the world. From Hello Kitty to My Melody, Sanrio’s characters are instantly recognizable and loved by children and adults alike.

Key Takeaways

  • Sanrio is a Japanese company that creates adorable and lovable pop culture characters.
  • Their characters, often referred to as Kawaii, have captured the hearts of people worldwide.
  • Sanrio’s first popular character was Hello Kitty, which was introduced in 1974 and became a global sensation.
  • The company has had significant cultural impact, spreading the concept of Kawaii beyond Japan’s borders.
  • Sanrio has collaborated with numerous brands and organizations to create unique and innovative products.

The History of Sanrio

In this section, let’s take a closer look at the fascinating history of the renowned Japanese company, Sanrio. Founded in 1960 by Shintaro Tsuji in Tokyo, Japan, the company started as a humble silk trading company before pivoting towards the creation of gift items.

Sanrio’s first popular character was “Hello Kitty,” introduced in 1974, which became a global sensation. The idea for the character came from Tsuji’s desire to create a mascot for a coin purse he wanted to create. The character became so popular that it led to the creation of a whole universe of Sanrio characters, each with their unique personalities and charm.

Sanrio’s characters have become more than just merchandise; they have become emblematic of a lifestyle and culture. The company’s commitment to creating lovable characters that promote happiness and kindness has contributed to its enduring success and global recognition.

Sanrio Characters

Sanrio has undoubtedly created some of the most popular characters in the world. From the iconic Hello Kitty to the lovable My Melody, their characters continue to capture the hearts of people worldwide. With their charming personalities and adorable designs, it’s no wonder Sanrio characters have become such a beloved staple of popular culture.

Each character has its unique traits and characteristics, creating a diverse cast of personalities for fans to enjoy. From the mischievous Little Twin Stars to the friendly Pompompurin, there’s a Sanrio character for everyone to love.

But it’s not just their personalities that make Sanrio characters so appealing. Their designs are equally enchanting, with bright colors and playful costumes that inspire a wide range of merchandise. From clothing to stationery, toys to accessories, the merchandise featuring Sanrio characters is seemingly endless.

  • Plush toys
  • Keychains
  • Mugs
  • T-shirts

These are just a few examples of the vast array of merchandise available to fans of Sanrio’s beloved characters. Whether you’re looking for something to wear, something to use, or something to collect, there’s a Sanrio character-inspired item just for you.

Sanrio’s characters have been a significant part of pop culture for generations, and their appeal continues to endure. With their unique personalities and timeless designs, Sanrio characters will undoubtedly continue to bring joy to fans for many years to come.

Sanrio’s Cultural Impact

Sanrio’s influence has been nothing short of a global phenomenon, with their characters having achieved iconic status worldwide. The company’s concept of Kawaii culture, characterized by the emphasis on cuteness, has found resonance beyond Japan’s borders.

The reach of Sanrio’s characters extends far and wide, influencing not just fashion and design but also music, entertainment, and pop culture. The appeal of Sanrio’s characters transcends gender, age, and nationality, with fans of all ages and backgrounds drawn to their charm.

The impact of Sanrio can be seen in the proliferation of Kawaii culture across the world, with numerous fansites, fan clubs, and merchandise stores dedicated to the company’s characters. From plush toys to stationery to clothing and accessories, Sanrio’s merchandise has become a staple of global pop culture, emblematic of the concept of cuteness.

Sanrio, A Cultural Phenomenon

“Sanrio’s cultural impact can hardly be overstated. Their characters have become an integral part of not just Japanese pop culture but global pop culture as well. The company’s creations have defined and shaped the Kawaii culture, transforming it into a global phenomenon.”

The reach and appeal of Sanrio’s characters can be attributed to their universal themes of love, friendship, and kindness. These themes, coupled with the company’s iconic character designs, have touched the hearts of people worldwide, inspiring a deep emotional connection.

Sanrio’s cultural impact is not limited to just merchandise and fan clubs. The company has inspired numerous works of art, literature, and even movies, cementing their place as a cultural icon.

Today, Sanrio’s characters continue to inspire and delight people worldwide, spreading joy and happiness with their adorable charm. Their influence on pop culture and the Kawaii culture is undeniable, making them a true cultural phenomenon.

Collaborations and Partnerships

Sanrio has a knack for collaborating with diverse brands to bring a fresh spin on their characters. Their partnerships always bring something new to the table, be it fashion, beauty, or entertainment.

Puma x Hello Kitty

In 2018, Sanrio teamed up with global sportswear brand Puma to create a line of sneakers and apparel featuring Hello Kitty. The collection, featuring bold red and white colours, was a hit with fans of both brands.

Levi’s x Hello Kitty

Another popular collaboration was with denim giant Levi’s. They released a range of jeans, jackets, and accessories showing off the denim brand’s iconic style along with Sanrio’s cute characters.

Sanrio x Disney

Sometimes, the worlds of two giants collide to create something truly magical. Sanrio and Disney teamed up to produce an adorable capsule collection in 2019 featuring Mickey Mouse and Hello Kitty.

Anime and Manga Collaborations

Sanrio has also been collaborating with several popular anime and manga shows such as Sailor Moon, One Piece, and Dragonball Z. These collaborations have been created in the form of clothing, accessories, and figurines.

Artistic Collaborations

Sanrio also collaborates with various artists to create exclusive designs for their merchandise. Celebrated artists like Keith Haring, Takashi Murakami, and Yuko Higuchi have all put their spin on Sanrio’s characters.

Brand Collaborations

Sanrio has worked with a range of brands such as Sephora, Barbie, and tokidoki to create unique products that combine the charm of Sanrio with the distinctive style of each brand. These collaborations have included makeup, fragrance, and clothing.

Sanrio’s collaborations and partnerships have been an essential part of the company’s growth, allowing the brand to reach a wider audience and bring its characters to new and exciting settings.

Sanrio Around the World

Sanrio’s popularity has spread far beyond its homeland of Japan, gaining an international presence and dedicated fan base in various countries. This global phenomenon has transformed Sanrio into a beloved brand worldwide, known for its iconic characters and charming merchandise.

The company has expanded its reach with the opening of Sanrio stores in different countries, making it easier for fans to access their favorite characters and products. Sanrio stores can be found across the globe, from the United States to Australia, and even in the United Kingdom where fans can visit Sanrio’s flagship store located in London.

Sanrio UK

In the UK, Sanrio has a dedicated fan base that continues to grow year after year. The brand’s global merchandise sales have reached millions of pounds, with popular Sanrio characters like Hello Kitty, My Melody, and Little Twin Stars being fan favorites.

Aside from the flagship store located in London, Sanrio products can also be found in various UK retailers, including online shops like Amazon and the Sanrio UK website. Fans can even attend Sanrio-themed events, such as the Hello Kitty Cafe pop-up which has made appearances in London and other major UK cities.

UK Sanrio Stores Location
Sanrio London London
Sanrio @ ARTBOX Bath
Sanrio @ Flying Tiger Copenhagen Various Locations

The vibrant Sanrio community in the UK is a testament to the brand’s enduring presence in popular culture. Whether you’re a long-time fan or discovering Sanrio for the first time, there’s something for everyone in the enchanting world of Sanrio.


That’s all for our exploration of Sanrio, the beloved Japanese company behind some of the world’s most adorable pop culture characters. From Hello Kitty and My Melody to Little Twin Stars and Pompompurin, Sanrio’s characters have captured the hearts of people worldwide, spreading the concept of Kawaii beyond Japan’s borders and influencing popular culture.

Despite its international success, Sanrio maintains its roots in Japan, with its headquarters located in Tokyo. The company continues to create new characters and merchandise, collaborating with various brands and organizations to bring its charm to new audiences worldwide.

Whether you’re a dedicated fan or just discovering the world of Sanrio, its characters and culture offer a universe of cuteness and endless possibilities. So why not explore this enchanting world for yourself and find your favourite Sanrio character today?


What is Sanrio?

Sanrio is a renowned Japanese company known for its creation of adorable and lovable pop culture characters. Their characters, often referred to as Kawaii, have captured the hearts of people worldwide.

When was Sanrio founded?

Sanrio was founded in 1960 by Shintaro Tsuji in Tokyo, Japan.

What was Sanrio’s first popular character?

Sanrio’s first popular character was “Hello Kitty,” which was introduced in 1974 and became a global sensation.

Who are some of Sanrio’s iconic characters?

Sanrio has created a vast lineup of beloved characters, including Hello Kitty, My Melody, Little Twin Stars, and Pompompurin.

How has Sanrio influenced popular culture?

Sanrio has had a significant cultural impact, spreading the concept of Kawaii (cuteness) beyond Japan’s borders. Its characters have become emblematic of the Kawaii culture, influencing fashion, design, and the entertainment industry.

Has Sanrio collaborated with other brands?

Yes, Sanrio has collaborated with numerous brands and organizations, including Puma, Levi’s, Disney, and various artists, to create unique and innovative products.

Is Sanrio popular internationally?

Yes, Sanrio’s charm has transcended borders and gained a global following. The company has dedicated fan bases in different countries, with vibrant communities of fans worldwide.