Hello, Hello Kitty: Major Exhibit Opens at JANM | NBC Southern California

Hello, Hello Kitty: Major Exhibit Opens at JANM

The ubiquitous feline character -- who's no feline -- gets her big moment in Little Tokyo.

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    Japanese American National Museum
    A major catrospective -- we mean retrospective -- opens on Saturday, Oct. 11 at the Japanese American National Museum. The honoree? Hello Kitty, of course (seen here in her role as grand marshal of the 2014 Nisei Week Parade).

    When your parents advised you to take care of your stuff, back when you were a kid, they truly meant all of your stuff, even the lip balms and toy phones and writing pads and various plastic gewgaws that festoon a childhood.

    One reason being that all of that stuff could end up in a museum one day. That is, of course, if it is connected to one of the powerhouse pop culture figures of the last four decades, a whiskery icon so recognizable that small tots knew both her name and the company behind the phenomenon.

    The icon? Hello Kitty. The company? Sanrio. And the museum that's holding a major exhibit in honor of her 40-year reign as one of the sweetest and seen-everywhere characters in the world? The Japanese American National Museum, which cuts the proverbial ribbon (we're picturing pink here) on Saturday, Oct. 11.

    It's the "first large-scale Hello Kitty museum retrospective in the United States" and many of the items on display come straight from the Sanrio archives. You can bet you'll see a pen or a bauble that you owned a kid, or something close. The lunchbox? Oh yeah. So. Many. Hello Kitty lunchboxes, back in the day, lined our school cafeteria tables.

    The show's not just about spotlighting the stuff, though. The arc of Hello Kitty's popularity, and her journey to lunchbox domination, is traced as well. And we all know now she is not a cat, but a little girl? The pop culture headline of the summer of 2014.

    Other meow-worthy events orbit the exhibit, which runs through April 26, 2015. A food-oriented scavenger hunt, Hello Kitty Con at the end of October/beginning of November, and a Hello Kitty-themed rooms at The Line, the convention's official hotel, all add to the bow-topped fun.

    No, seriously: Did you save any of your stuff, from back in the day? The Hello Kitty phone? Maybe its in the shoebox under your bed. Turns out the parentals were right -- we should treat our toys nicely, because one day, quite possibly, they could go on exhibit at a prestigious museum.

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