THE BLOG
10/30/2014 01:51 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Hello Kitty Is How Old?

My interview with chief Hello Kitty designer and Japanese pop icon, Yuko Yamaguchi, almost ended before it began.

All I asked was: when is a woman too old to wear Hello Kitty?

"Never" said Yamaguchi in a husky voice. Though we had an interpreter, I really didn't need one for that answer. I got the point.
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Yamaguchi was in LA to sign autographs during Hello Kitty Con, the first ever fan convention for this international symbol of cuteness.

Asking Yamaguchi about age appropriateness was a little tricky, especially given her age. Maybe that's why she didn't like my question. Was it offensive?

Yamaguchi's age is fiercely protected, but I am guessing she's near 60 because Hello Kitty is 40 and Yamaguchi began illustrating for the Sanrio cartoon straight out of art school. I may burn in Hello Kitty hell for daring to speculate about Mama Kitty's age. Either that, or her publicist will never invite me to a Hello Kitty event again. That would be hell.

I explained through the interpreter, that I worried maybe I was getting too old for Hello Kitty. Keep in mind the woman reassuring me I was fine, has orange hair wrapped into Hello Kitty buns with bows. She's like a Japanese Betsey Johnson.

"Women are never too old to be Hello Kitty fans," explained Yamaguchi "because Hello Kitty represents a break from other responsibilities. Being a fan can be therapeutic."

Is that why this cartoon without a mouth is worth 7 billion dollars a year because she speaks to women of every age?

Somehow I felt better. The mother of Hello Kitty said it was OK.
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I clutched my pearl necklace with the Hello Kitty rhinestone clasp and knew by the time on my Hello Kitty watch, that my therapy session, I mean my interview, with the Japanese pop diva was over.

You're never too old for Hello Kitty.
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