I also thought this was insane.
Hello Kitty, the Sanrio character from Japan... is not a cat. Not a kitty. Not a feline.
And the character is also not Japanese.
Despite being named "Hello Kitty", the 70's staple of Japan's kawaii culture is actually a child. Hello Kitty is a little girl. And she's from Britain. According to their website, her full name is Kitty White and she is a British school girl who "was born in the suburbs of London."
An anthropology professor was preparing an exhibit when she contacted the company about information. Christine R. Yano told the LA Times
“Hello Kitty is not a cat. She’s a cartoon character. She is a little girl. She is a friend. But she is not a cat. She’s never depicted on all fours. She walks and sits like a two-legged creature. She does have a pet cat of her own, however, and it’s called Charmmy Kitty.”
MMM K. We were just thrown off by the fact that she has kitty ears and whiskers. Stupid us.